Traditional recipes

Rick Bayless Brings Together Local Produce and Mexican Flavors at Macy’s Culinary Council Demo

Rick Bayless Brings Together Local Produce and Mexican Flavors at Macy’s Culinary Council Demo

“Food can change people’s lives.” It’s the philosophy that drives Rick Bayless. The James Beard Award-winning chef has an epic portfolio of restaurants, packaged goods, cookbooks, TV shows, and more, but it’s still the desire to bring people together that he considers most important. “When we share food, it creates a sense of community, and we need more of that.”

Bayless brings that sentiment to the home kitchen with his newest cookbook, More Mexican Everyday. A sequel to the successful Mexican Everyday, published 10 years ago, the new recipes focus on making the most out of fresh, local ingredients you can find at the farmers’ market. As part of the Macy’s Culinary Council, Bayless demonstrated three of these dishes for a full house.

The first course took a Mexican spin on a well-known favorite. The BLT tostadas started with tortillas fried up until brown and crispy. Fat from the bacon was the secret here to making them extra savory. Bayless then used the food processor to show how easy it is to make your own avocado mayonnaise. He added plenty of green chile for heat and the ubiquitous cilantro. Piled with tomatoes and bacon, the BLT tostadas were a fresh, mouth-watering starter.

When asked what local produce worked best with Mexican flavors, cauliflower was Bayless’s first answer. He used the hearty veggie in his second recipe, spicy and garlicky grilled cauliflower steaks. A sumptuous sauce of browned butter, garlic, hot sauce, and black pepper was used to coat the cauliflower. To top it, Bayless created a mix of peanuts and tequila-soaked raisins for a sweet and salty kick.

The final dish was a quick and easy summer dessert, mango ricotta cheesecake. Bayless blended hand-dipped ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, eggs, cream, and vanilla. A few round of microwaving set the mixture, and it was poured into a crust of Mexican Maria cookies. Bayless instructed the audience to chill the dessert for an hour, then top generously with a medley of mango, mint, and lime zest. It was creamy and light, perfect for the season.

“Most people don’t realize how light and flavorful Mexican cuisine is,” Bayless said. “They are missing out on the range and variety of the food.” With Macy’s Culinary Council and More Mexican Everyday, he takes another step in giving this country’s cuisine the spotlight it deserves.


Rick Bayless Brings Together Local Produce and Mexican Flavors at Macy’s Culinary Council Demo - Recipes

Earlier this year, I attended an event with celebrity chefs Tom Douglas and Rick Bayless. Keeping a sharp eye on the audience, I've learned. sometimes who's in the room. is as compelling as the talent on stage. Towards the end of the event, I spot two guys in chef jackets, bearing the Mariner's baseball team logo. "What's up with those jackets?" A broad smile is quick to follow.

As luck would have it, I met Dave Decker, the Executive Chef of Safeco Field, home of the Mariner's baseball team. He jokes, "Most chefs do 100-200 covers a night, I do 45,000!"

Truth be told, when you think of the trajectory of a chef, I never thought about sports. I was quick to learn, stadium food is big business. Beyond hot dogs and garlic fries, the stadium houses multiple restaurants, the "golden ticket" Diamond Club (more on that later), and when the team is away, a slew of private events. Dinner for 1,200 on the field? He makes it happen.

Before being recruited for the Mariners, Dave was an executive chef for 5-Diamond Hotels. Overseeing large-scale operations with multiple moving parts? That's his specialty.

When I asked, why baseball? Why not football or basketball? It's evident he has a love for challenges, and managing moving parts. Major league baseball teams play 162 games a year. From April through the end of September, they host over 80 home games. At that pace, it puts a lot of pressure on the kitchens. He's a high energy guy who thrives on the pressure.

For baseball, the kitchen crew typically has 1-2 days to prep for games. Football. there's only sixteen games/season. With just eight home games, "In football, you have a whole week to prep!" Baseball's a more challenging season, and for him, that's the appeal.

Overseeing a seasonal staff of 150 is not easy. Open hiring calls, Farestart, and the Millionaire Club provide the bulk of his staff. Every kitchen interview begins with a single test, "Show me how you cut an onion." If they don't use "the claw" to protect their fingertips, he moves on to the next candidate, or finds them a place in concessions.

What's a typical day like? "On game days, I don't really cook. I govern. and do a lot of paperwork." Overseeing all the food in the stadium--from concessions to suites means that for a sell out game? He feeds over 45,000 people. It's a physical job, that requires a ton of walking. On average, he wears through a pair of shoes every four months.

As luck would have it, the team was in town and Dave offered a behind the scenes look.

Stadium food and vegan options? You bet! Vegan dining at Safeco Field includes steamed buns stuffed with either black vinegar-glazed portobello mushrooms or gochujang (Korean chili paste) glazed eggplant.

On our way out, I spot this sign. "Can we take a look?"

At the Water's Edge

Seattle's stunning natural backdrop makes it a lure for locals and tourists alike. If you fancy a jaw-dropping view with a roaring fire, and hand-crafted cocktails, look no further than the Edgewater Hotel. Perched over the water with a steady stream of ships and sailboats gliding by, it's easy to loose yourself here.


There are 12,000 guest rooms in Seattle. Only 120 have a view like this.

While the Edgewater Hotel had been on my radar for weddings (they host over 120/year) and that famed image of the Beatles fishing out of their hotel window, it's recently become my spot for lingering over cocktails and business meetings. The hotel is located in Seattle, a heartbeat from all the downtown action, but enough outside of the fray to provide ample parking, and unobstructed views. (If you're staying here, take advantage of the courtesy shuttle service. They'll drop you anywhere within a 2 mile radius.)


Curl up in a cozy chair. and watch the world go by.

Recently the hotel hired San Francisco-based cocktail guru, David Nepove to revamp their entire bar. David tore apart the bar, added house made mixers ("everything is made from scratch") and an entirely new cocktail menu. A year ago, I had a lackluster experience here and hesitated going back. A blogger dinner invite provided a welcome look at their new and improved cocktail program.

Talking with the restaurant manager, Michele Gardner, I wanted to know, "What did you learn?"

The new bar menu embraces craft cocktails. "It took a lot of effort to get the staff on board. We had to assure them. people will wait for a well made cocktail." Aiming for unique and refreshing cocktails, the service experience is different too. "When guests sit at the bar, it's an event." In the end, they landed on twelve new cocktails. I had three, and begged shamelessly recipes. The recipe for my favorite cocktail, the Broken Branch, is at the bottom.


The hotel's 6/7 Restaurant is a mix of rustic and modern finishes, featuring a stone fireplace, wrap around waterfront windows, and Murano glass chandeliers.


Not to be outdone by the cocktails, chef John Roberts commanded the evening. Elegant dishes and surprising presentations proved hotel dining can be a noteworthy experience. While mainstream media focus their attention on chef-driven restaurants, chef Roberts is equally worthy of the limelight.


Tiger prawn corn dogs

Arriving on carved wood planks, tender prawns sported a crispy exterior, served alongside a sweet chili dipping sauce. "Chef, tell me about these prawns. What's in the batter?" At first blush, the large pieces adhering to the prawns looked like corn. No. He uses a puffed rice from the Asian market (instead of panko or breadcrumbs). Not only is it visually appealing, the puffed rice provides texture and a shattering bite. And here's the chef tip, "It stays crunchier, longer." For a guy who does a significant number of catered events, that's key.

As the menu progressed, subtle nuances continued to push the flavor. It's all about the details. My camera proved useless once the sun set, so I'll recap:

Salmon Crudo
sweet chili pepper puree, washington apple salsa, avocado and yellow curry oil

Sweet Potato and Leek Soup
topped with sauteed kale, proscuitto, pine nuts, chanterelles, and charred onion creme fraiche

Golden Beet Salad
belgium endive, candied pecans,craisins, oranges, blue cheese, fuji apples, and sherry reduction


Apple Granita and Basil Hayden

Pan Roasted Halibut
saffron risotto, grilled green onion, cherry tomatoes, arugula, musseles, and saffron broth

Roasted Rack of Lamb
rosemary roasted vegetables, gnocchi, carrot crisps, and stone ground mustard lamb reduction

Pear and Frangipane Tart
with vanilla sour cream and brandy caramel

And finally, that amazing cocktail.

Kissed with a touch of sweetness, the flavor profile on this cocktail is like a Manhattan. with a touch of cherry liqueur. Perfect for the holidays, or post-skiing libations.

Broken Branch Cocktail
From Six/Seven at the Edgewater Hotel, Seattle

2 oz Knob Creek Bourbon
½ oz Sweet Vermouth
½ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
½ oz Benedictine
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Method: Stir Garnish: Orange Peel

On the Road with Rick Bayless and Negra Modelo

The past couple years, I've been obsessed with Mexican food. Chef Rick Bayless provided the essential foundation for my education--thanks to his PBS television series, Mexico--One Plate at a Time, now in it's ninth year. His show reflects a life long love of learning. and teaching, unveiling the mysteries of Mexican cuisine, while providing essential on the road cultural context.

Rick's list of accomplishments is staggering (two full pages in my press packet!) In Chicago, he's got a got a stable full restaurants (Frontera Grill, Toplobampo, Xoco, Tortas Frontera, and Frontera Fresco). Frontera, his first, was launched in 1987. Between restaurant launches, he penned eight cookbooks, developed a line of Frontera salsas, sauces, and chips sold throughout the United States, and won awards and accolades too numerous to count.

When the invite arrived for a V.I.P. event with Negra Modelo beer and Rick Bayless, of course I went!

Both Rick and Seattle chef Tom Douglas are on the Macy's Culinary Council. (Remember this event with Tom?) It was a natural fit teaming up with Tom at his event space, the Palace Ballroom.

Hat tip to Negra Modelo, Rick Bayless, Tom Douglas, and their amazing PR teams. Good times, people. Good times!


Tom Douglas' Black Bean and Ham Hock Soup with Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa

2 cups dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
12 cups (3 quarts) chicken stock| or more if needed
1 smoked ham hock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped onions
½ cups coarsely chopped carrots
½ cup coarsely chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups drained canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons coriander seeds| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons cumin seed| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons paprika
¾ tablespoons cayenne| or to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice| or to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the beans in a large pot with the chicken stock and ham hock. Bring
to a simmer and cook until the beans are soft, about 2 hours (1 hour is the
beans have been pre-soaked).
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-low heat and
slowly cook the onions, carrots, and celery, stirring occasionally, until the
onions are golden and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic for
the last few minutes of cooking. Add the onion mixture, tomatoes, tomato
paste, and ground spices to the simmering beans. Continue to simmer
until everything is very soft, about another hour. Pull out the ham hock and
remove the fat and skin. Pull all the lean meat off the bone, finely chop the
mean, and set aside. In a food processor or blender, coarsely puree the
beans in batches just enough to leave a little texture. Return the soup to
the pot and add the chopped meat. Season with the paprika, cayenne, lime
juice, salt, and black pepper. Just before serving, stir in the chopped
cilantro.
On the plate: Ladle the soup into the bowls and serve with dollops of the
salsa, sour cream and a few cilantro leaves. We also serve warm
cornbread with this soup.
A step ahead: You can make this soup a few days ahead and store it in
the refrigerator. To serve, reheat and stir in the cilantro.

Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa
½ pound tomatillos (about 8)| husked and cut into quarters
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 ripe medium avocado| peeled, pitted, and cut into ¼ inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

A step ahead: You can make this an hour or two ahead and store it, covered, in the refrigerator. Or you can make the salsa without the avocado up to a day ahead, refrigerate it, and stir in the diced avocado shortly before you are ready to serve.

Put the tomatillos in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely pureed. Pour the puree into a strainer set over a bowl and drain briefly, discarding the liquid. (The puree doesn't need to be completely dry.) Put the drained puree into a bowl and stir in the lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and avocado. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*
Rick Bayless' Smoky Pulled Pork Tacos with Roasted Tomatoes and Dark Beer

2 cups Essential Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chipotle Sauce:
2 stemmed dried chipotle chiles| (or canned chipotle chiles en adobo)
4 garlic cloves| unpeeled
1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes| (3 medium-large round or 8 to 12 plum)
3 tablespoons olive oil| or vegetable oil or rich-tasting pork lard
1 medium white onion| thinly sliced
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup dark beer| such as Negra Modelo
½ teaspoon black pepper| preferably freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon| preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
1/8 teaspoon cloves| preferably freshly ground
½ teaspoon Salt| plus some for sprinkling on the pork
12 ounces pulled pork
Sprigs of cilantro or flat-leaf parsley| for garnish
12 warm corn tortillas| store-bought or homemade
½ cup grated Mexican queso anejo| or Romano or Parmesan


Rick Bayless Brings Together Local Produce and Mexican Flavors at Macy’s Culinary Council Demo - Recipes

Earlier this year, I attended an event with celebrity chefs Tom Douglas and Rick Bayless. Keeping a sharp eye on the audience, I've learned. sometimes who's in the room. is as compelling as the talent on stage. Towards the end of the event, I spot two guys in chef jackets, bearing the Mariner's baseball team logo. "What's up with those jackets?" A broad smile is quick to follow.

As luck would have it, I met Dave Decker, the Executive Chef of Safeco Field, home of the Mariner's baseball team. He jokes, "Most chefs do 100-200 covers a night, I do 45,000!"

Truth be told, when you think of the trajectory of a chef, I never thought about sports. I was quick to learn, stadium food is big business. Beyond hot dogs and garlic fries, the stadium houses multiple restaurants, the "golden ticket" Diamond Club (more on that later), and when the team is away, a slew of private events. Dinner for 1,200 on the field? He makes it happen.

Before being recruited for the Mariners, Dave was an executive chef for 5-Diamond Hotels. Overseeing large-scale operations with multiple moving parts? That's his specialty.

When I asked, why baseball? Why not football or basketball? It's evident he has a love for challenges, and managing moving parts. Major league baseball teams play 162 games a year. From April through the end of September, they host over 80 home games. At that pace, it puts a lot of pressure on the kitchens. He's a high energy guy who thrives on the pressure.

For baseball, the kitchen crew typically has 1-2 days to prep for games. Football. there's only sixteen games/season. With just eight home games, "In football, you have a whole week to prep!" Baseball's a more challenging season, and for him, that's the appeal.

Overseeing a seasonal staff of 150 is not easy. Open hiring calls, Farestart, and the Millionaire Club provide the bulk of his staff. Every kitchen interview begins with a single test, "Show me how you cut an onion." If they don't use "the claw" to protect their fingertips, he moves on to the next candidate, or finds them a place in concessions.

What's a typical day like? "On game days, I don't really cook. I govern. and do a lot of paperwork." Overseeing all the food in the stadium--from concessions to suites means that for a sell out game? He feeds over 45,000 people. It's a physical job, that requires a ton of walking. On average, he wears through a pair of shoes every four months.

As luck would have it, the team was in town and Dave offered a behind the scenes look.

Stadium food and vegan options? You bet! Vegan dining at Safeco Field includes steamed buns stuffed with either black vinegar-glazed portobello mushrooms or gochujang (Korean chili paste) glazed eggplant.

On our way out, I spot this sign. "Can we take a look?"

At the Water's Edge

Seattle's stunning natural backdrop makes it a lure for locals and tourists alike. If you fancy a jaw-dropping view with a roaring fire, and hand-crafted cocktails, look no further than the Edgewater Hotel. Perched over the water with a steady stream of ships and sailboats gliding by, it's easy to loose yourself here.


There are 12,000 guest rooms in Seattle. Only 120 have a view like this.

While the Edgewater Hotel had been on my radar for weddings (they host over 120/year) and that famed image of the Beatles fishing out of their hotel window, it's recently become my spot for lingering over cocktails and business meetings. The hotel is located in Seattle, a heartbeat from all the downtown action, but enough outside of the fray to provide ample parking, and unobstructed views. (If you're staying here, take advantage of the courtesy shuttle service. They'll drop you anywhere within a 2 mile radius.)


Curl up in a cozy chair. and watch the world go by.

Recently the hotel hired San Francisco-based cocktail guru, David Nepove to revamp their entire bar. David tore apart the bar, added house made mixers ("everything is made from scratch") and an entirely new cocktail menu. A year ago, I had a lackluster experience here and hesitated going back. A blogger dinner invite provided a welcome look at their new and improved cocktail program.

Talking with the restaurant manager, Michele Gardner, I wanted to know, "What did you learn?"

The new bar menu embraces craft cocktails. "It took a lot of effort to get the staff on board. We had to assure them. people will wait for a well made cocktail." Aiming for unique and refreshing cocktails, the service experience is different too. "When guests sit at the bar, it's an event." In the end, they landed on twelve new cocktails. I had three, and begged shamelessly recipes. The recipe for my favorite cocktail, the Broken Branch, is at the bottom.


The hotel's 6/7 Restaurant is a mix of rustic and modern finishes, featuring a stone fireplace, wrap around waterfront windows, and Murano glass chandeliers.


Not to be outdone by the cocktails, chef John Roberts commanded the evening. Elegant dishes and surprising presentations proved hotel dining can be a noteworthy experience. While mainstream media focus their attention on chef-driven restaurants, chef Roberts is equally worthy of the limelight.


Tiger prawn corn dogs

Arriving on carved wood planks, tender prawns sported a crispy exterior, served alongside a sweet chili dipping sauce. "Chef, tell me about these prawns. What's in the batter?" At first blush, the large pieces adhering to the prawns looked like corn. No. He uses a puffed rice from the Asian market (instead of panko or breadcrumbs). Not only is it visually appealing, the puffed rice provides texture and a shattering bite. And here's the chef tip, "It stays crunchier, longer." For a guy who does a significant number of catered events, that's key.

As the menu progressed, subtle nuances continued to push the flavor. It's all about the details. My camera proved useless once the sun set, so I'll recap:

Salmon Crudo
sweet chili pepper puree, washington apple salsa, avocado and yellow curry oil

Sweet Potato and Leek Soup
topped with sauteed kale, proscuitto, pine nuts, chanterelles, and charred onion creme fraiche

Golden Beet Salad
belgium endive, candied pecans,craisins, oranges, blue cheese, fuji apples, and sherry reduction


Apple Granita and Basil Hayden

Pan Roasted Halibut
saffron risotto, grilled green onion, cherry tomatoes, arugula, musseles, and saffron broth

Roasted Rack of Lamb
rosemary roasted vegetables, gnocchi, carrot crisps, and stone ground mustard lamb reduction

Pear and Frangipane Tart
with vanilla sour cream and brandy caramel

And finally, that amazing cocktail.

Kissed with a touch of sweetness, the flavor profile on this cocktail is like a Manhattan. with a touch of cherry liqueur. Perfect for the holidays, or post-skiing libations.

Broken Branch Cocktail
From Six/Seven at the Edgewater Hotel, Seattle

2 oz Knob Creek Bourbon
½ oz Sweet Vermouth
½ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
½ oz Benedictine
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Method: Stir Garnish: Orange Peel

On the Road with Rick Bayless and Negra Modelo

The past couple years, I've been obsessed with Mexican food. Chef Rick Bayless provided the essential foundation for my education--thanks to his PBS television series, Mexico--One Plate at a Time, now in it's ninth year. His show reflects a life long love of learning. and teaching, unveiling the mysteries of Mexican cuisine, while providing essential on the road cultural context.

Rick's list of accomplishments is staggering (two full pages in my press packet!) In Chicago, he's got a got a stable full restaurants (Frontera Grill, Toplobampo, Xoco, Tortas Frontera, and Frontera Fresco). Frontera, his first, was launched in 1987. Between restaurant launches, he penned eight cookbooks, developed a line of Frontera salsas, sauces, and chips sold throughout the United States, and won awards and accolades too numerous to count.

When the invite arrived for a V.I.P. event with Negra Modelo beer and Rick Bayless, of course I went!

Both Rick and Seattle chef Tom Douglas are on the Macy's Culinary Council. (Remember this event with Tom?) It was a natural fit teaming up with Tom at his event space, the Palace Ballroom.

Hat tip to Negra Modelo, Rick Bayless, Tom Douglas, and their amazing PR teams. Good times, people. Good times!


Tom Douglas' Black Bean and Ham Hock Soup with Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa

2 cups dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
12 cups (3 quarts) chicken stock| or more if needed
1 smoked ham hock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped onions
½ cups coarsely chopped carrots
½ cup coarsely chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups drained canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons coriander seeds| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons cumin seed| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons paprika
¾ tablespoons cayenne| or to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice| or to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the beans in a large pot with the chicken stock and ham hock. Bring
to a simmer and cook until the beans are soft, about 2 hours (1 hour is the
beans have been pre-soaked).
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-low heat and
slowly cook the onions, carrots, and celery, stirring occasionally, until the
onions are golden and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic for
the last few minutes of cooking. Add the onion mixture, tomatoes, tomato
paste, and ground spices to the simmering beans. Continue to simmer
until everything is very soft, about another hour. Pull out the ham hock and
remove the fat and skin. Pull all the lean meat off the bone, finely chop the
mean, and set aside. In a food processor or blender, coarsely puree the
beans in batches just enough to leave a little texture. Return the soup to
the pot and add the chopped meat. Season with the paprika, cayenne, lime
juice, salt, and black pepper. Just before serving, stir in the chopped
cilantro.
On the plate: Ladle the soup into the bowls and serve with dollops of the
salsa, sour cream and a few cilantro leaves. We also serve warm
cornbread with this soup.
A step ahead: You can make this soup a few days ahead and store it in
the refrigerator. To serve, reheat and stir in the cilantro.

Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa
½ pound tomatillos (about 8)| husked and cut into quarters
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 ripe medium avocado| peeled, pitted, and cut into ¼ inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

A step ahead: You can make this an hour or two ahead and store it, covered, in the refrigerator. Or you can make the salsa without the avocado up to a day ahead, refrigerate it, and stir in the diced avocado shortly before you are ready to serve.

Put the tomatillos in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely pureed. Pour the puree into a strainer set over a bowl and drain briefly, discarding the liquid. (The puree doesn't need to be completely dry.) Put the drained puree into a bowl and stir in the lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and avocado. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*
Rick Bayless' Smoky Pulled Pork Tacos with Roasted Tomatoes and Dark Beer

2 cups Essential Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chipotle Sauce:
2 stemmed dried chipotle chiles| (or canned chipotle chiles en adobo)
4 garlic cloves| unpeeled
1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes| (3 medium-large round or 8 to 12 plum)
3 tablespoons olive oil| or vegetable oil or rich-tasting pork lard
1 medium white onion| thinly sliced
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup dark beer| such as Negra Modelo
½ teaspoon black pepper| preferably freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon| preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
1/8 teaspoon cloves| preferably freshly ground
½ teaspoon Salt| plus some for sprinkling on the pork
12 ounces pulled pork
Sprigs of cilantro or flat-leaf parsley| for garnish
12 warm corn tortillas| store-bought or homemade
½ cup grated Mexican queso anejo| or Romano or Parmesan


Rick Bayless Brings Together Local Produce and Mexican Flavors at Macy’s Culinary Council Demo - Recipes

Earlier this year, I attended an event with celebrity chefs Tom Douglas and Rick Bayless. Keeping a sharp eye on the audience, I've learned. sometimes who's in the room. is as compelling as the talent on stage. Towards the end of the event, I spot two guys in chef jackets, bearing the Mariner's baseball team logo. "What's up with those jackets?" A broad smile is quick to follow.

As luck would have it, I met Dave Decker, the Executive Chef of Safeco Field, home of the Mariner's baseball team. He jokes, "Most chefs do 100-200 covers a night, I do 45,000!"

Truth be told, when you think of the trajectory of a chef, I never thought about sports. I was quick to learn, stadium food is big business. Beyond hot dogs and garlic fries, the stadium houses multiple restaurants, the "golden ticket" Diamond Club (more on that later), and when the team is away, a slew of private events. Dinner for 1,200 on the field? He makes it happen.

Before being recruited for the Mariners, Dave was an executive chef for 5-Diamond Hotels. Overseeing large-scale operations with multiple moving parts? That's his specialty.

When I asked, why baseball? Why not football or basketball? It's evident he has a love for challenges, and managing moving parts. Major league baseball teams play 162 games a year. From April through the end of September, they host over 80 home games. At that pace, it puts a lot of pressure on the kitchens. He's a high energy guy who thrives on the pressure.

For baseball, the kitchen crew typically has 1-2 days to prep for games. Football. there's only sixteen games/season. With just eight home games, "In football, you have a whole week to prep!" Baseball's a more challenging season, and for him, that's the appeal.

Overseeing a seasonal staff of 150 is not easy. Open hiring calls, Farestart, and the Millionaire Club provide the bulk of his staff. Every kitchen interview begins with a single test, "Show me how you cut an onion." If they don't use "the claw" to protect their fingertips, he moves on to the next candidate, or finds them a place in concessions.

What's a typical day like? "On game days, I don't really cook. I govern. and do a lot of paperwork." Overseeing all the food in the stadium--from concessions to suites means that for a sell out game? He feeds over 45,000 people. It's a physical job, that requires a ton of walking. On average, he wears through a pair of shoes every four months.

As luck would have it, the team was in town and Dave offered a behind the scenes look.

Stadium food and vegan options? You bet! Vegan dining at Safeco Field includes steamed buns stuffed with either black vinegar-glazed portobello mushrooms or gochujang (Korean chili paste) glazed eggplant.

On our way out, I spot this sign. "Can we take a look?"

At the Water's Edge

Seattle's stunning natural backdrop makes it a lure for locals and tourists alike. If you fancy a jaw-dropping view with a roaring fire, and hand-crafted cocktails, look no further than the Edgewater Hotel. Perched over the water with a steady stream of ships and sailboats gliding by, it's easy to loose yourself here.


There are 12,000 guest rooms in Seattle. Only 120 have a view like this.

While the Edgewater Hotel had been on my radar for weddings (they host over 120/year) and that famed image of the Beatles fishing out of their hotel window, it's recently become my spot for lingering over cocktails and business meetings. The hotel is located in Seattle, a heartbeat from all the downtown action, but enough outside of the fray to provide ample parking, and unobstructed views. (If you're staying here, take advantage of the courtesy shuttle service. They'll drop you anywhere within a 2 mile radius.)


Curl up in a cozy chair. and watch the world go by.

Recently the hotel hired San Francisco-based cocktail guru, David Nepove to revamp their entire bar. David tore apart the bar, added house made mixers ("everything is made from scratch") and an entirely new cocktail menu. A year ago, I had a lackluster experience here and hesitated going back. A blogger dinner invite provided a welcome look at their new and improved cocktail program.

Talking with the restaurant manager, Michele Gardner, I wanted to know, "What did you learn?"

The new bar menu embraces craft cocktails. "It took a lot of effort to get the staff on board. We had to assure them. people will wait for a well made cocktail." Aiming for unique and refreshing cocktails, the service experience is different too. "When guests sit at the bar, it's an event." In the end, they landed on twelve new cocktails. I had three, and begged shamelessly recipes. The recipe for my favorite cocktail, the Broken Branch, is at the bottom.


The hotel's 6/7 Restaurant is a mix of rustic and modern finishes, featuring a stone fireplace, wrap around waterfront windows, and Murano glass chandeliers.


Not to be outdone by the cocktails, chef John Roberts commanded the evening. Elegant dishes and surprising presentations proved hotel dining can be a noteworthy experience. While mainstream media focus their attention on chef-driven restaurants, chef Roberts is equally worthy of the limelight.


Tiger prawn corn dogs

Arriving on carved wood planks, tender prawns sported a crispy exterior, served alongside a sweet chili dipping sauce. "Chef, tell me about these prawns. What's in the batter?" At first blush, the large pieces adhering to the prawns looked like corn. No. He uses a puffed rice from the Asian market (instead of panko or breadcrumbs). Not only is it visually appealing, the puffed rice provides texture and a shattering bite. And here's the chef tip, "It stays crunchier, longer." For a guy who does a significant number of catered events, that's key.

As the menu progressed, subtle nuances continued to push the flavor. It's all about the details. My camera proved useless once the sun set, so I'll recap:

Salmon Crudo
sweet chili pepper puree, washington apple salsa, avocado and yellow curry oil

Sweet Potato and Leek Soup
topped with sauteed kale, proscuitto, pine nuts, chanterelles, and charred onion creme fraiche

Golden Beet Salad
belgium endive, candied pecans,craisins, oranges, blue cheese, fuji apples, and sherry reduction


Apple Granita and Basil Hayden

Pan Roasted Halibut
saffron risotto, grilled green onion, cherry tomatoes, arugula, musseles, and saffron broth

Roasted Rack of Lamb
rosemary roasted vegetables, gnocchi, carrot crisps, and stone ground mustard lamb reduction

Pear and Frangipane Tart
with vanilla sour cream and brandy caramel

And finally, that amazing cocktail.

Kissed with a touch of sweetness, the flavor profile on this cocktail is like a Manhattan. with a touch of cherry liqueur. Perfect for the holidays, or post-skiing libations.

Broken Branch Cocktail
From Six/Seven at the Edgewater Hotel, Seattle

2 oz Knob Creek Bourbon
½ oz Sweet Vermouth
½ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
½ oz Benedictine
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Method: Stir Garnish: Orange Peel

On the Road with Rick Bayless and Negra Modelo

The past couple years, I've been obsessed with Mexican food. Chef Rick Bayless provided the essential foundation for my education--thanks to his PBS television series, Mexico--One Plate at a Time, now in it's ninth year. His show reflects a life long love of learning. and teaching, unveiling the mysteries of Mexican cuisine, while providing essential on the road cultural context.

Rick's list of accomplishments is staggering (two full pages in my press packet!) In Chicago, he's got a got a stable full restaurants (Frontera Grill, Toplobampo, Xoco, Tortas Frontera, and Frontera Fresco). Frontera, his first, was launched in 1987. Between restaurant launches, he penned eight cookbooks, developed a line of Frontera salsas, sauces, and chips sold throughout the United States, and won awards and accolades too numerous to count.

When the invite arrived for a V.I.P. event with Negra Modelo beer and Rick Bayless, of course I went!

Both Rick and Seattle chef Tom Douglas are on the Macy's Culinary Council. (Remember this event with Tom?) It was a natural fit teaming up with Tom at his event space, the Palace Ballroom.

Hat tip to Negra Modelo, Rick Bayless, Tom Douglas, and their amazing PR teams. Good times, people. Good times!


Tom Douglas' Black Bean and Ham Hock Soup with Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa

2 cups dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
12 cups (3 quarts) chicken stock| or more if needed
1 smoked ham hock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped onions
½ cups coarsely chopped carrots
½ cup coarsely chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups drained canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons coriander seeds| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons cumin seed| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons paprika
¾ tablespoons cayenne| or to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice| or to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the beans in a large pot with the chicken stock and ham hock. Bring
to a simmer and cook until the beans are soft, about 2 hours (1 hour is the
beans have been pre-soaked).
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-low heat and
slowly cook the onions, carrots, and celery, stirring occasionally, until the
onions are golden and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic for
the last few minutes of cooking. Add the onion mixture, tomatoes, tomato
paste, and ground spices to the simmering beans. Continue to simmer
until everything is very soft, about another hour. Pull out the ham hock and
remove the fat and skin. Pull all the lean meat off the bone, finely chop the
mean, and set aside. In a food processor or blender, coarsely puree the
beans in batches just enough to leave a little texture. Return the soup to
the pot and add the chopped meat. Season with the paprika, cayenne, lime
juice, salt, and black pepper. Just before serving, stir in the chopped
cilantro.
On the plate: Ladle the soup into the bowls and serve with dollops of the
salsa, sour cream and a few cilantro leaves. We also serve warm
cornbread with this soup.
A step ahead: You can make this soup a few days ahead and store it in
the refrigerator. To serve, reheat and stir in the cilantro.

Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa
½ pound tomatillos (about 8)| husked and cut into quarters
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 ripe medium avocado| peeled, pitted, and cut into ¼ inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

A step ahead: You can make this an hour or two ahead and store it, covered, in the refrigerator. Or you can make the salsa without the avocado up to a day ahead, refrigerate it, and stir in the diced avocado shortly before you are ready to serve.

Put the tomatillos in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely pureed. Pour the puree into a strainer set over a bowl and drain briefly, discarding the liquid. (The puree doesn't need to be completely dry.) Put the drained puree into a bowl and stir in the lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and avocado. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*
Rick Bayless' Smoky Pulled Pork Tacos with Roasted Tomatoes and Dark Beer

2 cups Essential Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chipotle Sauce:
2 stemmed dried chipotle chiles| (or canned chipotle chiles en adobo)
4 garlic cloves| unpeeled
1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes| (3 medium-large round or 8 to 12 plum)
3 tablespoons olive oil| or vegetable oil or rich-tasting pork lard
1 medium white onion| thinly sliced
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup dark beer| such as Negra Modelo
½ teaspoon black pepper| preferably freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon| preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
1/8 teaspoon cloves| preferably freshly ground
½ teaspoon Salt| plus some for sprinkling on the pork
12 ounces pulled pork
Sprigs of cilantro or flat-leaf parsley| for garnish
12 warm corn tortillas| store-bought or homemade
½ cup grated Mexican queso anejo| or Romano or Parmesan


Rick Bayless Brings Together Local Produce and Mexican Flavors at Macy’s Culinary Council Demo - Recipes

Earlier this year, I attended an event with celebrity chefs Tom Douglas and Rick Bayless. Keeping a sharp eye on the audience, I've learned. sometimes who's in the room. is as compelling as the talent on stage. Towards the end of the event, I spot two guys in chef jackets, bearing the Mariner's baseball team logo. "What's up with those jackets?" A broad smile is quick to follow.

As luck would have it, I met Dave Decker, the Executive Chef of Safeco Field, home of the Mariner's baseball team. He jokes, "Most chefs do 100-200 covers a night, I do 45,000!"

Truth be told, when you think of the trajectory of a chef, I never thought about sports. I was quick to learn, stadium food is big business. Beyond hot dogs and garlic fries, the stadium houses multiple restaurants, the "golden ticket" Diamond Club (more on that later), and when the team is away, a slew of private events. Dinner for 1,200 on the field? He makes it happen.

Before being recruited for the Mariners, Dave was an executive chef for 5-Diamond Hotels. Overseeing large-scale operations with multiple moving parts? That's his specialty.

When I asked, why baseball? Why not football or basketball? It's evident he has a love for challenges, and managing moving parts. Major league baseball teams play 162 games a year. From April through the end of September, they host over 80 home games. At that pace, it puts a lot of pressure on the kitchens. He's a high energy guy who thrives on the pressure.

For baseball, the kitchen crew typically has 1-2 days to prep for games. Football. there's only sixteen games/season. With just eight home games, "In football, you have a whole week to prep!" Baseball's a more challenging season, and for him, that's the appeal.

Overseeing a seasonal staff of 150 is not easy. Open hiring calls, Farestart, and the Millionaire Club provide the bulk of his staff. Every kitchen interview begins with a single test, "Show me how you cut an onion." If they don't use "the claw" to protect their fingertips, he moves on to the next candidate, or finds them a place in concessions.

What's a typical day like? "On game days, I don't really cook. I govern. and do a lot of paperwork." Overseeing all the food in the stadium--from concessions to suites means that for a sell out game? He feeds over 45,000 people. It's a physical job, that requires a ton of walking. On average, he wears through a pair of shoes every four months.

As luck would have it, the team was in town and Dave offered a behind the scenes look.

Stadium food and vegan options? You bet! Vegan dining at Safeco Field includes steamed buns stuffed with either black vinegar-glazed portobello mushrooms or gochujang (Korean chili paste) glazed eggplant.

On our way out, I spot this sign. "Can we take a look?"

At the Water's Edge

Seattle's stunning natural backdrop makes it a lure for locals and tourists alike. If you fancy a jaw-dropping view with a roaring fire, and hand-crafted cocktails, look no further than the Edgewater Hotel. Perched over the water with a steady stream of ships and sailboats gliding by, it's easy to loose yourself here.


There are 12,000 guest rooms in Seattle. Only 120 have a view like this.

While the Edgewater Hotel had been on my radar for weddings (they host over 120/year) and that famed image of the Beatles fishing out of their hotel window, it's recently become my spot for lingering over cocktails and business meetings. The hotel is located in Seattle, a heartbeat from all the downtown action, but enough outside of the fray to provide ample parking, and unobstructed views. (If you're staying here, take advantage of the courtesy shuttle service. They'll drop you anywhere within a 2 mile radius.)


Curl up in a cozy chair. and watch the world go by.

Recently the hotel hired San Francisco-based cocktail guru, David Nepove to revamp their entire bar. David tore apart the bar, added house made mixers ("everything is made from scratch") and an entirely new cocktail menu. A year ago, I had a lackluster experience here and hesitated going back. A blogger dinner invite provided a welcome look at their new and improved cocktail program.

Talking with the restaurant manager, Michele Gardner, I wanted to know, "What did you learn?"

The new bar menu embraces craft cocktails. "It took a lot of effort to get the staff on board. We had to assure them. people will wait for a well made cocktail." Aiming for unique and refreshing cocktails, the service experience is different too. "When guests sit at the bar, it's an event." In the end, they landed on twelve new cocktails. I had three, and begged shamelessly recipes. The recipe for my favorite cocktail, the Broken Branch, is at the bottom.


The hotel's 6/7 Restaurant is a mix of rustic and modern finishes, featuring a stone fireplace, wrap around waterfront windows, and Murano glass chandeliers.


Not to be outdone by the cocktails, chef John Roberts commanded the evening. Elegant dishes and surprising presentations proved hotel dining can be a noteworthy experience. While mainstream media focus their attention on chef-driven restaurants, chef Roberts is equally worthy of the limelight.


Tiger prawn corn dogs

Arriving on carved wood planks, tender prawns sported a crispy exterior, served alongside a sweet chili dipping sauce. "Chef, tell me about these prawns. What's in the batter?" At first blush, the large pieces adhering to the prawns looked like corn. No. He uses a puffed rice from the Asian market (instead of panko or breadcrumbs). Not only is it visually appealing, the puffed rice provides texture and a shattering bite. And here's the chef tip, "It stays crunchier, longer." For a guy who does a significant number of catered events, that's key.

As the menu progressed, subtle nuances continued to push the flavor. It's all about the details. My camera proved useless once the sun set, so I'll recap:

Salmon Crudo
sweet chili pepper puree, washington apple salsa, avocado and yellow curry oil

Sweet Potato and Leek Soup
topped with sauteed kale, proscuitto, pine nuts, chanterelles, and charred onion creme fraiche

Golden Beet Salad
belgium endive, candied pecans,craisins, oranges, blue cheese, fuji apples, and sherry reduction


Apple Granita and Basil Hayden

Pan Roasted Halibut
saffron risotto, grilled green onion, cherry tomatoes, arugula, musseles, and saffron broth

Roasted Rack of Lamb
rosemary roasted vegetables, gnocchi, carrot crisps, and stone ground mustard lamb reduction

Pear and Frangipane Tart
with vanilla sour cream and brandy caramel

And finally, that amazing cocktail.

Kissed with a touch of sweetness, the flavor profile on this cocktail is like a Manhattan. with a touch of cherry liqueur. Perfect for the holidays, or post-skiing libations.

Broken Branch Cocktail
From Six/Seven at the Edgewater Hotel, Seattle

2 oz Knob Creek Bourbon
½ oz Sweet Vermouth
½ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
½ oz Benedictine
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Method: Stir Garnish: Orange Peel

On the Road with Rick Bayless and Negra Modelo

The past couple years, I've been obsessed with Mexican food. Chef Rick Bayless provided the essential foundation for my education--thanks to his PBS television series, Mexico--One Plate at a Time, now in it's ninth year. His show reflects a life long love of learning. and teaching, unveiling the mysteries of Mexican cuisine, while providing essential on the road cultural context.

Rick's list of accomplishments is staggering (two full pages in my press packet!) In Chicago, he's got a got a stable full restaurants (Frontera Grill, Toplobampo, Xoco, Tortas Frontera, and Frontera Fresco). Frontera, his first, was launched in 1987. Between restaurant launches, he penned eight cookbooks, developed a line of Frontera salsas, sauces, and chips sold throughout the United States, and won awards and accolades too numerous to count.

When the invite arrived for a V.I.P. event with Negra Modelo beer and Rick Bayless, of course I went!

Both Rick and Seattle chef Tom Douglas are on the Macy's Culinary Council. (Remember this event with Tom?) It was a natural fit teaming up with Tom at his event space, the Palace Ballroom.

Hat tip to Negra Modelo, Rick Bayless, Tom Douglas, and their amazing PR teams. Good times, people. Good times!


Tom Douglas' Black Bean and Ham Hock Soup with Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa

2 cups dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
12 cups (3 quarts) chicken stock| or more if needed
1 smoked ham hock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped onions
½ cups coarsely chopped carrots
½ cup coarsely chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups drained canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons coriander seeds| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons cumin seed| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons paprika
¾ tablespoons cayenne| or to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice| or to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the beans in a large pot with the chicken stock and ham hock. Bring
to a simmer and cook until the beans are soft, about 2 hours (1 hour is the
beans have been pre-soaked).
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-low heat and
slowly cook the onions, carrots, and celery, stirring occasionally, until the
onions are golden and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic for
the last few minutes of cooking. Add the onion mixture, tomatoes, tomato
paste, and ground spices to the simmering beans. Continue to simmer
until everything is very soft, about another hour. Pull out the ham hock and
remove the fat and skin. Pull all the lean meat off the bone, finely chop the
mean, and set aside. In a food processor or blender, coarsely puree the
beans in batches just enough to leave a little texture. Return the soup to
the pot and add the chopped meat. Season with the paprika, cayenne, lime
juice, salt, and black pepper. Just before serving, stir in the chopped
cilantro.
On the plate: Ladle the soup into the bowls and serve with dollops of the
salsa, sour cream and a few cilantro leaves. We also serve warm
cornbread with this soup.
A step ahead: You can make this soup a few days ahead and store it in
the refrigerator. To serve, reheat and stir in the cilantro.

Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa
½ pound tomatillos (about 8)| husked and cut into quarters
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 ripe medium avocado| peeled, pitted, and cut into ¼ inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

A step ahead: You can make this an hour or two ahead and store it, covered, in the refrigerator. Or you can make the salsa without the avocado up to a day ahead, refrigerate it, and stir in the diced avocado shortly before you are ready to serve.

Put the tomatillos in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely pureed. Pour the puree into a strainer set over a bowl and drain briefly, discarding the liquid. (The puree doesn't need to be completely dry.) Put the drained puree into a bowl and stir in the lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and avocado. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*
Rick Bayless' Smoky Pulled Pork Tacos with Roasted Tomatoes and Dark Beer

2 cups Essential Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chipotle Sauce:
2 stemmed dried chipotle chiles| (or canned chipotle chiles en adobo)
4 garlic cloves| unpeeled
1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes| (3 medium-large round or 8 to 12 plum)
3 tablespoons olive oil| or vegetable oil or rich-tasting pork lard
1 medium white onion| thinly sliced
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup dark beer| such as Negra Modelo
½ teaspoon black pepper| preferably freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon| preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
1/8 teaspoon cloves| preferably freshly ground
½ teaspoon Salt| plus some for sprinkling on the pork
12 ounces pulled pork
Sprigs of cilantro or flat-leaf parsley| for garnish
12 warm corn tortillas| store-bought or homemade
½ cup grated Mexican queso anejo| or Romano or Parmesan


Rick Bayless Brings Together Local Produce and Mexican Flavors at Macy’s Culinary Council Demo - Recipes

Earlier this year, I attended an event with celebrity chefs Tom Douglas and Rick Bayless. Keeping a sharp eye on the audience, I've learned. sometimes who's in the room. is as compelling as the talent on stage. Towards the end of the event, I spot two guys in chef jackets, bearing the Mariner's baseball team logo. "What's up with those jackets?" A broad smile is quick to follow.

As luck would have it, I met Dave Decker, the Executive Chef of Safeco Field, home of the Mariner's baseball team. He jokes, "Most chefs do 100-200 covers a night, I do 45,000!"

Truth be told, when you think of the trajectory of a chef, I never thought about sports. I was quick to learn, stadium food is big business. Beyond hot dogs and garlic fries, the stadium houses multiple restaurants, the "golden ticket" Diamond Club (more on that later), and when the team is away, a slew of private events. Dinner for 1,200 on the field? He makes it happen.

Before being recruited for the Mariners, Dave was an executive chef for 5-Diamond Hotels. Overseeing large-scale operations with multiple moving parts? That's his specialty.

When I asked, why baseball? Why not football or basketball? It's evident he has a love for challenges, and managing moving parts. Major league baseball teams play 162 games a year. From April through the end of September, they host over 80 home games. At that pace, it puts a lot of pressure on the kitchens. He's a high energy guy who thrives on the pressure.

For baseball, the kitchen crew typically has 1-2 days to prep for games. Football. there's only sixteen games/season. With just eight home games, "In football, you have a whole week to prep!" Baseball's a more challenging season, and for him, that's the appeal.

Overseeing a seasonal staff of 150 is not easy. Open hiring calls, Farestart, and the Millionaire Club provide the bulk of his staff. Every kitchen interview begins with a single test, "Show me how you cut an onion." If they don't use "the claw" to protect their fingertips, he moves on to the next candidate, or finds them a place in concessions.

What's a typical day like? "On game days, I don't really cook. I govern. and do a lot of paperwork." Overseeing all the food in the stadium--from concessions to suites means that for a sell out game? He feeds over 45,000 people. It's a physical job, that requires a ton of walking. On average, he wears through a pair of shoes every four months.

As luck would have it, the team was in town and Dave offered a behind the scenes look.

Stadium food and vegan options? You bet! Vegan dining at Safeco Field includes steamed buns stuffed with either black vinegar-glazed portobello mushrooms or gochujang (Korean chili paste) glazed eggplant.

On our way out, I spot this sign. "Can we take a look?"

At the Water's Edge

Seattle's stunning natural backdrop makes it a lure for locals and tourists alike. If you fancy a jaw-dropping view with a roaring fire, and hand-crafted cocktails, look no further than the Edgewater Hotel. Perched over the water with a steady stream of ships and sailboats gliding by, it's easy to loose yourself here.


There are 12,000 guest rooms in Seattle. Only 120 have a view like this.

While the Edgewater Hotel had been on my radar for weddings (they host over 120/year) and that famed image of the Beatles fishing out of their hotel window, it's recently become my spot for lingering over cocktails and business meetings. The hotel is located in Seattle, a heartbeat from all the downtown action, but enough outside of the fray to provide ample parking, and unobstructed views. (If you're staying here, take advantage of the courtesy shuttle service. They'll drop you anywhere within a 2 mile radius.)


Curl up in a cozy chair. and watch the world go by.

Recently the hotel hired San Francisco-based cocktail guru, David Nepove to revamp their entire bar. David tore apart the bar, added house made mixers ("everything is made from scratch") and an entirely new cocktail menu. A year ago, I had a lackluster experience here and hesitated going back. A blogger dinner invite provided a welcome look at their new and improved cocktail program.

Talking with the restaurant manager, Michele Gardner, I wanted to know, "What did you learn?"

The new bar menu embraces craft cocktails. "It took a lot of effort to get the staff on board. We had to assure them. people will wait for a well made cocktail." Aiming for unique and refreshing cocktails, the service experience is different too. "When guests sit at the bar, it's an event." In the end, they landed on twelve new cocktails. I had three, and begged shamelessly recipes. The recipe for my favorite cocktail, the Broken Branch, is at the bottom.


The hotel's 6/7 Restaurant is a mix of rustic and modern finishes, featuring a stone fireplace, wrap around waterfront windows, and Murano glass chandeliers.


Not to be outdone by the cocktails, chef John Roberts commanded the evening. Elegant dishes and surprising presentations proved hotel dining can be a noteworthy experience. While mainstream media focus their attention on chef-driven restaurants, chef Roberts is equally worthy of the limelight.


Tiger prawn corn dogs

Arriving on carved wood planks, tender prawns sported a crispy exterior, served alongside a sweet chili dipping sauce. "Chef, tell me about these prawns. What's in the batter?" At first blush, the large pieces adhering to the prawns looked like corn. No. He uses a puffed rice from the Asian market (instead of panko or breadcrumbs). Not only is it visually appealing, the puffed rice provides texture and a shattering bite. And here's the chef tip, "It stays crunchier, longer." For a guy who does a significant number of catered events, that's key.

As the menu progressed, subtle nuances continued to push the flavor. It's all about the details. My camera proved useless once the sun set, so I'll recap:

Salmon Crudo
sweet chili pepper puree, washington apple salsa, avocado and yellow curry oil

Sweet Potato and Leek Soup
topped with sauteed kale, proscuitto, pine nuts, chanterelles, and charred onion creme fraiche

Golden Beet Salad
belgium endive, candied pecans,craisins, oranges, blue cheese, fuji apples, and sherry reduction


Apple Granita and Basil Hayden

Pan Roasted Halibut
saffron risotto, grilled green onion, cherry tomatoes, arugula, musseles, and saffron broth

Roasted Rack of Lamb
rosemary roasted vegetables, gnocchi, carrot crisps, and stone ground mustard lamb reduction

Pear and Frangipane Tart
with vanilla sour cream and brandy caramel

And finally, that amazing cocktail.

Kissed with a touch of sweetness, the flavor profile on this cocktail is like a Manhattan. with a touch of cherry liqueur. Perfect for the holidays, or post-skiing libations.

Broken Branch Cocktail
From Six/Seven at the Edgewater Hotel, Seattle

2 oz Knob Creek Bourbon
½ oz Sweet Vermouth
½ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
½ oz Benedictine
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Method: Stir Garnish: Orange Peel

On the Road with Rick Bayless and Negra Modelo

The past couple years, I've been obsessed with Mexican food. Chef Rick Bayless provided the essential foundation for my education--thanks to his PBS television series, Mexico--One Plate at a Time, now in it's ninth year. His show reflects a life long love of learning. and teaching, unveiling the mysteries of Mexican cuisine, while providing essential on the road cultural context.

Rick's list of accomplishments is staggering (two full pages in my press packet!) In Chicago, he's got a got a stable full restaurants (Frontera Grill, Toplobampo, Xoco, Tortas Frontera, and Frontera Fresco). Frontera, his first, was launched in 1987. Between restaurant launches, he penned eight cookbooks, developed a line of Frontera salsas, sauces, and chips sold throughout the United States, and won awards and accolades too numerous to count.

When the invite arrived for a V.I.P. event with Negra Modelo beer and Rick Bayless, of course I went!

Both Rick and Seattle chef Tom Douglas are on the Macy's Culinary Council. (Remember this event with Tom?) It was a natural fit teaming up with Tom at his event space, the Palace Ballroom.

Hat tip to Negra Modelo, Rick Bayless, Tom Douglas, and their amazing PR teams. Good times, people. Good times!


Tom Douglas' Black Bean and Ham Hock Soup with Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa

2 cups dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
12 cups (3 quarts) chicken stock| or more if needed
1 smoked ham hock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped onions
½ cups coarsely chopped carrots
½ cup coarsely chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups drained canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons coriander seeds| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons cumin seed| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons paprika
¾ tablespoons cayenne| or to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice| or to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the beans in a large pot with the chicken stock and ham hock. Bring
to a simmer and cook until the beans are soft, about 2 hours (1 hour is the
beans have been pre-soaked).
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-low heat and
slowly cook the onions, carrots, and celery, stirring occasionally, until the
onions are golden and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic for
the last few minutes of cooking. Add the onion mixture, tomatoes, tomato
paste, and ground spices to the simmering beans. Continue to simmer
until everything is very soft, about another hour. Pull out the ham hock and
remove the fat and skin. Pull all the lean meat off the bone, finely chop the
mean, and set aside. In a food processor or blender, coarsely puree the
beans in batches just enough to leave a little texture. Return the soup to
the pot and add the chopped meat. Season with the paprika, cayenne, lime
juice, salt, and black pepper. Just before serving, stir in the chopped
cilantro.
On the plate: Ladle the soup into the bowls and serve with dollops of the
salsa, sour cream and a few cilantro leaves. We also serve warm
cornbread with this soup.
A step ahead: You can make this soup a few days ahead and store it in
the refrigerator. To serve, reheat and stir in the cilantro.

Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa
½ pound tomatillos (about 8)| husked and cut into quarters
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 ripe medium avocado| peeled, pitted, and cut into ¼ inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

A step ahead: You can make this an hour or two ahead and store it, covered, in the refrigerator. Or you can make the salsa without the avocado up to a day ahead, refrigerate it, and stir in the diced avocado shortly before you are ready to serve.

Put the tomatillos in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely pureed. Pour the puree into a strainer set over a bowl and drain briefly, discarding the liquid. (The puree doesn't need to be completely dry.) Put the drained puree into a bowl and stir in the lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and avocado. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*
Rick Bayless' Smoky Pulled Pork Tacos with Roasted Tomatoes and Dark Beer

2 cups Essential Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chipotle Sauce:
2 stemmed dried chipotle chiles| (or canned chipotle chiles en adobo)
4 garlic cloves| unpeeled
1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes| (3 medium-large round or 8 to 12 plum)
3 tablespoons olive oil| or vegetable oil or rich-tasting pork lard
1 medium white onion| thinly sliced
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup dark beer| such as Negra Modelo
½ teaspoon black pepper| preferably freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon| preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
1/8 teaspoon cloves| preferably freshly ground
½ teaspoon Salt| plus some for sprinkling on the pork
12 ounces pulled pork
Sprigs of cilantro or flat-leaf parsley| for garnish
12 warm corn tortillas| store-bought or homemade
½ cup grated Mexican queso anejo| or Romano or Parmesan


Rick Bayless Brings Together Local Produce and Mexican Flavors at Macy’s Culinary Council Demo - Recipes

Earlier this year, I attended an event with celebrity chefs Tom Douglas and Rick Bayless. Keeping a sharp eye on the audience, I've learned. sometimes who's in the room. is as compelling as the talent on stage. Towards the end of the event, I spot two guys in chef jackets, bearing the Mariner's baseball team logo. "What's up with those jackets?" A broad smile is quick to follow.

As luck would have it, I met Dave Decker, the Executive Chef of Safeco Field, home of the Mariner's baseball team. He jokes, "Most chefs do 100-200 covers a night, I do 45,000!"

Truth be told, when you think of the trajectory of a chef, I never thought about sports. I was quick to learn, stadium food is big business. Beyond hot dogs and garlic fries, the stadium houses multiple restaurants, the "golden ticket" Diamond Club (more on that later), and when the team is away, a slew of private events. Dinner for 1,200 on the field? He makes it happen.

Before being recruited for the Mariners, Dave was an executive chef for 5-Diamond Hotels. Overseeing large-scale operations with multiple moving parts? That's his specialty.

When I asked, why baseball? Why not football or basketball? It's evident he has a love for challenges, and managing moving parts. Major league baseball teams play 162 games a year. From April through the end of September, they host over 80 home games. At that pace, it puts a lot of pressure on the kitchens. He's a high energy guy who thrives on the pressure.

For baseball, the kitchen crew typically has 1-2 days to prep for games. Football. there's only sixteen games/season. With just eight home games, "In football, you have a whole week to prep!" Baseball's a more challenging season, and for him, that's the appeal.

Overseeing a seasonal staff of 150 is not easy. Open hiring calls, Farestart, and the Millionaire Club provide the bulk of his staff. Every kitchen interview begins with a single test, "Show me how you cut an onion." If they don't use "the claw" to protect their fingertips, he moves on to the next candidate, or finds them a place in concessions.

What's a typical day like? "On game days, I don't really cook. I govern. and do a lot of paperwork." Overseeing all the food in the stadium--from concessions to suites means that for a sell out game? He feeds over 45,000 people. It's a physical job, that requires a ton of walking. On average, he wears through a pair of shoes every four months.

As luck would have it, the team was in town and Dave offered a behind the scenes look.

Stadium food and vegan options? You bet! Vegan dining at Safeco Field includes steamed buns stuffed with either black vinegar-glazed portobello mushrooms or gochujang (Korean chili paste) glazed eggplant.

On our way out, I spot this sign. "Can we take a look?"

At the Water's Edge

Seattle's stunning natural backdrop makes it a lure for locals and tourists alike. If you fancy a jaw-dropping view with a roaring fire, and hand-crafted cocktails, look no further than the Edgewater Hotel. Perched over the water with a steady stream of ships and sailboats gliding by, it's easy to loose yourself here.


There are 12,000 guest rooms in Seattle. Only 120 have a view like this.

While the Edgewater Hotel had been on my radar for weddings (they host over 120/year) and that famed image of the Beatles fishing out of their hotel window, it's recently become my spot for lingering over cocktails and business meetings. The hotel is located in Seattle, a heartbeat from all the downtown action, but enough outside of the fray to provide ample parking, and unobstructed views. (If you're staying here, take advantage of the courtesy shuttle service. They'll drop you anywhere within a 2 mile radius.)


Curl up in a cozy chair. and watch the world go by.

Recently the hotel hired San Francisco-based cocktail guru, David Nepove to revamp their entire bar. David tore apart the bar, added house made mixers ("everything is made from scratch") and an entirely new cocktail menu. A year ago, I had a lackluster experience here and hesitated going back. A blogger dinner invite provided a welcome look at their new and improved cocktail program.

Talking with the restaurant manager, Michele Gardner, I wanted to know, "What did you learn?"

The new bar menu embraces craft cocktails. "It took a lot of effort to get the staff on board. We had to assure them. people will wait for a well made cocktail." Aiming for unique and refreshing cocktails, the service experience is different too. "When guests sit at the bar, it's an event." In the end, they landed on twelve new cocktails. I had three, and begged shamelessly recipes. The recipe for my favorite cocktail, the Broken Branch, is at the bottom.


The hotel's 6/7 Restaurant is a mix of rustic and modern finishes, featuring a stone fireplace, wrap around waterfront windows, and Murano glass chandeliers.


Not to be outdone by the cocktails, chef John Roberts commanded the evening. Elegant dishes and surprising presentations proved hotel dining can be a noteworthy experience. While mainstream media focus their attention on chef-driven restaurants, chef Roberts is equally worthy of the limelight.


Tiger prawn corn dogs

Arriving on carved wood planks, tender prawns sported a crispy exterior, served alongside a sweet chili dipping sauce. "Chef, tell me about these prawns. What's in the batter?" At first blush, the large pieces adhering to the prawns looked like corn. No. He uses a puffed rice from the Asian market (instead of panko or breadcrumbs). Not only is it visually appealing, the puffed rice provides texture and a shattering bite. And here's the chef tip, "It stays crunchier, longer." For a guy who does a significant number of catered events, that's key.

As the menu progressed, subtle nuances continued to push the flavor. It's all about the details. My camera proved useless once the sun set, so I'll recap:

Salmon Crudo
sweet chili pepper puree, washington apple salsa, avocado and yellow curry oil

Sweet Potato and Leek Soup
topped with sauteed kale, proscuitto, pine nuts, chanterelles, and charred onion creme fraiche

Golden Beet Salad
belgium endive, candied pecans,craisins, oranges, blue cheese, fuji apples, and sherry reduction


Apple Granita and Basil Hayden

Pan Roasted Halibut
saffron risotto, grilled green onion, cherry tomatoes, arugula, musseles, and saffron broth

Roasted Rack of Lamb
rosemary roasted vegetables, gnocchi, carrot crisps, and stone ground mustard lamb reduction

Pear and Frangipane Tart
with vanilla sour cream and brandy caramel

And finally, that amazing cocktail.

Kissed with a touch of sweetness, the flavor profile on this cocktail is like a Manhattan. with a touch of cherry liqueur. Perfect for the holidays, or post-skiing libations.

Broken Branch Cocktail
From Six/Seven at the Edgewater Hotel, Seattle

2 oz Knob Creek Bourbon
½ oz Sweet Vermouth
½ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
½ oz Benedictine
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Method: Stir Garnish: Orange Peel

On the Road with Rick Bayless and Negra Modelo

The past couple years, I've been obsessed with Mexican food. Chef Rick Bayless provided the essential foundation for my education--thanks to his PBS television series, Mexico--One Plate at a Time, now in it's ninth year. His show reflects a life long love of learning. and teaching, unveiling the mysteries of Mexican cuisine, while providing essential on the road cultural context.

Rick's list of accomplishments is staggering (two full pages in my press packet!) In Chicago, he's got a got a stable full restaurants (Frontera Grill, Toplobampo, Xoco, Tortas Frontera, and Frontera Fresco). Frontera, his first, was launched in 1987. Between restaurant launches, he penned eight cookbooks, developed a line of Frontera salsas, sauces, and chips sold throughout the United States, and won awards and accolades too numerous to count.

When the invite arrived for a V.I.P. event with Negra Modelo beer and Rick Bayless, of course I went!

Both Rick and Seattle chef Tom Douglas are on the Macy's Culinary Council. (Remember this event with Tom?) It was a natural fit teaming up with Tom at his event space, the Palace Ballroom.

Hat tip to Negra Modelo, Rick Bayless, Tom Douglas, and their amazing PR teams. Good times, people. Good times!


Tom Douglas' Black Bean and Ham Hock Soup with Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa

2 cups dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
12 cups (3 quarts) chicken stock| or more if needed
1 smoked ham hock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped onions
½ cups coarsely chopped carrots
½ cup coarsely chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups drained canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons coriander seeds| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons cumin seed| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons paprika
¾ tablespoons cayenne| or to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice| or to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the beans in a large pot with the chicken stock and ham hock. Bring
to a simmer and cook until the beans are soft, about 2 hours (1 hour is the
beans have been pre-soaked).
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-low heat and
slowly cook the onions, carrots, and celery, stirring occasionally, until the
onions are golden and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic for
the last few minutes of cooking. Add the onion mixture, tomatoes, tomato
paste, and ground spices to the simmering beans. Continue to simmer
until everything is very soft, about another hour. Pull out the ham hock and
remove the fat and skin. Pull all the lean meat off the bone, finely chop the
mean, and set aside. In a food processor or blender, coarsely puree the
beans in batches just enough to leave a little texture. Return the soup to
the pot and add the chopped meat. Season with the paprika, cayenne, lime
juice, salt, and black pepper. Just before serving, stir in the chopped
cilantro.
On the plate: Ladle the soup into the bowls and serve with dollops of the
salsa, sour cream and a few cilantro leaves. We also serve warm
cornbread with this soup.
A step ahead: You can make this soup a few days ahead and store it in
the refrigerator. To serve, reheat and stir in the cilantro.

Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa
½ pound tomatillos (about 8)| husked and cut into quarters
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 ripe medium avocado| peeled, pitted, and cut into ¼ inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

A step ahead: You can make this an hour or two ahead and store it, covered, in the refrigerator. Or you can make the salsa without the avocado up to a day ahead, refrigerate it, and stir in the diced avocado shortly before you are ready to serve.

Put the tomatillos in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely pureed. Pour the puree into a strainer set over a bowl and drain briefly, discarding the liquid. (The puree doesn't need to be completely dry.) Put the drained puree into a bowl and stir in the lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and avocado. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*
Rick Bayless' Smoky Pulled Pork Tacos with Roasted Tomatoes and Dark Beer

2 cups Essential Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chipotle Sauce:
2 stemmed dried chipotle chiles| (or canned chipotle chiles en adobo)
4 garlic cloves| unpeeled
1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes| (3 medium-large round or 8 to 12 plum)
3 tablespoons olive oil| or vegetable oil or rich-tasting pork lard
1 medium white onion| thinly sliced
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup dark beer| such as Negra Modelo
½ teaspoon black pepper| preferably freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon| preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
1/8 teaspoon cloves| preferably freshly ground
½ teaspoon Salt| plus some for sprinkling on the pork
12 ounces pulled pork
Sprigs of cilantro or flat-leaf parsley| for garnish
12 warm corn tortillas| store-bought or homemade
½ cup grated Mexican queso anejo| or Romano or Parmesan


Rick Bayless Brings Together Local Produce and Mexican Flavors at Macy’s Culinary Council Demo - Recipes

Earlier this year, I attended an event with celebrity chefs Tom Douglas and Rick Bayless. Keeping a sharp eye on the audience, I've learned. sometimes who's in the room. is as compelling as the talent on stage. Towards the end of the event, I spot two guys in chef jackets, bearing the Mariner's baseball team logo. "What's up with those jackets?" A broad smile is quick to follow.

As luck would have it, I met Dave Decker, the Executive Chef of Safeco Field, home of the Mariner's baseball team. He jokes, "Most chefs do 100-200 covers a night, I do 45,000!"

Truth be told, when you think of the trajectory of a chef, I never thought about sports. I was quick to learn, stadium food is big business. Beyond hot dogs and garlic fries, the stadium houses multiple restaurants, the "golden ticket" Diamond Club (more on that later), and when the team is away, a slew of private events. Dinner for 1,200 on the field? He makes it happen.

Before being recruited for the Mariners, Dave was an executive chef for 5-Diamond Hotels. Overseeing large-scale operations with multiple moving parts? That's his specialty.

When I asked, why baseball? Why not football or basketball? It's evident he has a love for challenges, and managing moving parts. Major league baseball teams play 162 games a year. From April through the end of September, they host over 80 home games. At that pace, it puts a lot of pressure on the kitchens. He's a high energy guy who thrives on the pressure.

For baseball, the kitchen crew typically has 1-2 days to prep for games. Football. there's only sixteen games/season. With just eight home games, "In football, you have a whole week to prep!" Baseball's a more challenging season, and for him, that's the appeal.

Overseeing a seasonal staff of 150 is not easy. Open hiring calls, Farestart, and the Millionaire Club provide the bulk of his staff. Every kitchen interview begins with a single test, "Show me how you cut an onion." If they don't use "the claw" to protect their fingertips, he moves on to the next candidate, or finds them a place in concessions.

What's a typical day like? "On game days, I don't really cook. I govern. and do a lot of paperwork." Overseeing all the food in the stadium--from concessions to suites means that for a sell out game? He feeds over 45,000 people. It's a physical job, that requires a ton of walking. On average, he wears through a pair of shoes every four months.

As luck would have it, the team was in town and Dave offered a behind the scenes look.

Stadium food and vegan options? You bet! Vegan dining at Safeco Field includes steamed buns stuffed with either black vinegar-glazed portobello mushrooms or gochujang (Korean chili paste) glazed eggplant.

On our way out, I spot this sign. "Can we take a look?"

At the Water's Edge

Seattle's stunning natural backdrop makes it a lure for locals and tourists alike. If you fancy a jaw-dropping view with a roaring fire, and hand-crafted cocktails, look no further than the Edgewater Hotel. Perched over the water with a steady stream of ships and sailboats gliding by, it's easy to loose yourself here.


There are 12,000 guest rooms in Seattle. Only 120 have a view like this.

While the Edgewater Hotel had been on my radar for weddings (they host over 120/year) and that famed image of the Beatles fishing out of their hotel window, it's recently become my spot for lingering over cocktails and business meetings. The hotel is located in Seattle, a heartbeat from all the downtown action, but enough outside of the fray to provide ample parking, and unobstructed views. (If you're staying here, take advantage of the courtesy shuttle service. They'll drop you anywhere within a 2 mile radius.)


Curl up in a cozy chair. and watch the world go by.

Recently the hotel hired San Francisco-based cocktail guru, David Nepove to revamp their entire bar. David tore apart the bar, added house made mixers ("everything is made from scratch") and an entirely new cocktail menu. A year ago, I had a lackluster experience here and hesitated going back. A blogger dinner invite provided a welcome look at their new and improved cocktail program.

Talking with the restaurant manager, Michele Gardner, I wanted to know, "What did you learn?"

The new bar menu embraces craft cocktails. "It took a lot of effort to get the staff on board. We had to assure them. people will wait for a well made cocktail." Aiming for unique and refreshing cocktails, the service experience is different too. "When guests sit at the bar, it's an event." In the end, they landed on twelve new cocktails. I had three, and begged shamelessly recipes. The recipe for my favorite cocktail, the Broken Branch, is at the bottom.


The hotel's 6/7 Restaurant is a mix of rustic and modern finishes, featuring a stone fireplace, wrap around waterfront windows, and Murano glass chandeliers.


Not to be outdone by the cocktails, chef John Roberts commanded the evening. Elegant dishes and surprising presentations proved hotel dining can be a noteworthy experience. While mainstream media focus their attention on chef-driven restaurants, chef Roberts is equally worthy of the limelight.


Tiger prawn corn dogs

Arriving on carved wood planks, tender prawns sported a crispy exterior, served alongside a sweet chili dipping sauce. "Chef, tell me about these prawns. What's in the batter?" At first blush, the large pieces adhering to the prawns looked like corn. No. He uses a puffed rice from the Asian market (instead of panko or breadcrumbs). Not only is it visually appealing, the puffed rice provides texture and a shattering bite. And here's the chef tip, "It stays crunchier, longer." For a guy who does a significant number of catered events, that's key.

As the menu progressed, subtle nuances continued to push the flavor. It's all about the details. My camera proved useless once the sun set, so I'll recap:

Salmon Crudo
sweet chili pepper puree, washington apple salsa, avocado and yellow curry oil

Sweet Potato and Leek Soup
topped with sauteed kale, proscuitto, pine nuts, chanterelles, and charred onion creme fraiche

Golden Beet Salad
belgium endive, candied pecans,craisins, oranges, blue cheese, fuji apples, and sherry reduction


Apple Granita and Basil Hayden

Pan Roasted Halibut
saffron risotto, grilled green onion, cherry tomatoes, arugula, musseles, and saffron broth

Roasted Rack of Lamb
rosemary roasted vegetables, gnocchi, carrot crisps, and stone ground mustard lamb reduction

Pear and Frangipane Tart
with vanilla sour cream and brandy caramel

And finally, that amazing cocktail.

Kissed with a touch of sweetness, the flavor profile on this cocktail is like a Manhattan. with a touch of cherry liqueur. Perfect for the holidays, or post-skiing libations.

Broken Branch Cocktail
From Six/Seven at the Edgewater Hotel, Seattle

2 oz Knob Creek Bourbon
½ oz Sweet Vermouth
½ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
½ oz Benedictine
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Method: Stir Garnish: Orange Peel

On the Road with Rick Bayless and Negra Modelo

The past couple years, I've been obsessed with Mexican food. Chef Rick Bayless provided the essential foundation for my education--thanks to his PBS television series, Mexico--One Plate at a Time, now in it's ninth year. His show reflects a life long love of learning. and teaching, unveiling the mysteries of Mexican cuisine, while providing essential on the road cultural context.

Rick's list of accomplishments is staggering (two full pages in my press packet!) In Chicago, he's got a got a stable full restaurants (Frontera Grill, Toplobampo, Xoco, Tortas Frontera, and Frontera Fresco). Frontera, his first, was launched in 1987. Between restaurant launches, he penned eight cookbooks, developed a line of Frontera salsas, sauces, and chips sold throughout the United States, and won awards and accolades too numerous to count.

When the invite arrived for a V.I.P. event with Negra Modelo beer and Rick Bayless, of course I went!

Both Rick and Seattle chef Tom Douglas are on the Macy's Culinary Council. (Remember this event with Tom?) It was a natural fit teaming up with Tom at his event space, the Palace Ballroom.

Hat tip to Negra Modelo, Rick Bayless, Tom Douglas, and their amazing PR teams. Good times, people. Good times!


Tom Douglas' Black Bean and Ham Hock Soup with Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa

2 cups dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
12 cups (3 quarts) chicken stock| or more if needed
1 smoked ham hock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped onions
½ cups coarsely chopped carrots
½ cup coarsely chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups drained canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons coriander seeds| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons cumin seed| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons paprika
¾ tablespoons cayenne| or to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice| or to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the beans in a large pot with the chicken stock and ham hock. Bring
to a simmer and cook until the beans are soft, about 2 hours (1 hour is the
beans have been pre-soaked).
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-low heat and
slowly cook the onions, carrots, and celery, stirring occasionally, until the
onions are golden and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic for
the last few minutes of cooking. Add the onion mixture, tomatoes, tomato
paste, and ground spices to the simmering beans. Continue to simmer
until everything is very soft, about another hour. Pull out the ham hock and
remove the fat and skin. Pull all the lean meat off the bone, finely chop the
mean, and set aside. In a food processor or blender, coarsely puree the
beans in batches just enough to leave a little texture. Return the soup to
the pot and add the chopped meat. Season with the paprika, cayenne, lime
juice, salt, and black pepper. Just before serving, stir in the chopped
cilantro.
On the plate: Ladle the soup into the bowls and serve with dollops of the
salsa, sour cream and a few cilantro leaves. We also serve warm
cornbread with this soup.
A step ahead: You can make this soup a few days ahead and store it in
the refrigerator. To serve, reheat and stir in the cilantro.

Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa
½ pound tomatillos (about 8)| husked and cut into quarters
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 ripe medium avocado| peeled, pitted, and cut into ¼ inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

A step ahead: You can make this an hour or two ahead and store it, covered, in the refrigerator. Or you can make the salsa without the avocado up to a day ahead, refrigerate it, and stir in the diced avocado shortly before you are ready to serve.

Put the tomatillos in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely pureed. Pour the puree into a strainer set over a bowl and drain briefly, discarding the liquid. (The puree doesn't need to be completely dry.) Put the drained puree into a bowl and stir in the lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and avocado. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*
Rick Bayless' Smoky Pulled Pork Tacos with Roasted Tomatoes and Dark Beer

2 cups Essential Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chipotle Sauce:
2 stemmed dried chipotle chiles| (or canned chipotle chiles en adobo)
4 garlic cloves| unpeeled
1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes| (3 medium-large round or 8 to 12 plum)
3 tablespoons olive oil| or vegetable oil or rich-tasting pork lard
1 medium white onion| thinly sliced
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup dark beer| such as Negra Modelo
½ teaspoon black pepper| preferably freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon| preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
1/8 teaspoon cloves| preferably freshly ground
½ teaspoon Salt| plus some for sprinkling on the pork
12 ounces pulled pork
Sprigs of cilantro or flat-leaf parsley| for garnish
12 warm corn tortillas| store-bought or homemade
½ cup grated Mexican queso anejo| or Romano or Parmesan


Rick Bayless Brings Together Local Produce and Mexican Flavors at Macy’s Culinary Council Demo - Recipes

Earlier this year, I attended an event with celebrity chefs Tom Douglas and Rick Bayless. Keeping a sharp eye on the audience, I've learned. sometimes who's in the room. is as compelling as the talent on stage. Towards the end of the event, I spot two guys in chef jackets, bearing the Mariner's baseball team logo. "What's up with those jackets?" A broad smile is quick to follow.

As luck would have it, I met Dave Decker, the Executive Chef of Safeco Field, home of the Mariner's baseball team. He jokes, "Most chefs do 100-200 covers a night, I do 45,000!"

Truth be told, when you think of the trajectory of a chef, I never thought about sports. I was quick to learn, stadium food is big business. Beyond hot dogs and garlic fries, the stadium houses multiple restaurants, the "golden ticket" Diamond Club (more on that later), and when the team is away, a slew of private events. Dinner for 1,200 on the field? He makes it happen.

Before being recruited for the Mariners, Dave was an executive chef for 5-Diamond Hotels. Overseeing large-scale operations with multiple moving parts? That's his specialty.

When I asked, why baseball? Why not football or basketball? It's evident he has a love for challenges, and managing moving parts. Major league baseball teams play 162 games a year. From April through the end of September, they host over 80 home games. At that pace, it puts a lot of pressure on the kitchens. He's a high energy guy who thrives on the pressure.

For baseball, the kitchen crew typically has 1-2 days to prep for games. Football. there's only sixteen games/season. With just eight home games, "In football, you have a whole week to prep!" Baseball's a more challenging season, and for him, that's the appeal.

Overseeing a seasonal staff of 150 is not easy. Open hiring calls, Farestart, and the Millionaire Club provide the bulk of his staff. Every kitchen interview begins with a single test, "Show me how you cut an onion." If they don't use "the claw" to protect their fingertips, he moves on to the next candidate, or finds them a place in concessions.

What's a typical day like? "On game days, I don't really cook. I govern. and do a lot of paperwork." Overseeing all the food in the stadium--from concessions to suites means that for a sell out game? He feeds over 45,000 people. It's a physical job, that requires a ton of walking. On average, he wears through a pair of shoes every four months.

As luck would have it, the team was in town and Dave offered a behind the scenes look.

Stadium food and vegan options? You bet! Vegan dining at Safeco Field includes steamed buns stuffed with either black vinegar-glazed portobello mushrooms or gochujang (Korean chili paste) glazed eggplant.

On our way out, I spot this sign. "Can we take a look?"

At the Water's Edge

Seattle's stunning natural backdrop makes it a lure for locals and tourists alike. If you fancy a jaw-dropping view with a roaring fire, and hand-crafted cocktails, look no further than the Edgewater Hotel. Perched over the water with a steady stream of ships and sailboats gliding by, it's easy to loose yourself here.


There are 12,000 guest rooms in Seattle. Only 120 have a view like this.

While the Edgewater Hotel had been on my radar for weddings (they host over 120/year) and that famed image of the Beatles fishing out of their hotel window, it's recently become my spot for lingering over cocktails and business meetings. The hotel is located in Seattle, a heartbeat from all the downtown action, but enough outside of the fray to provide ample parking, and unobstructed views. (If you're staying here, take advantage of the courtesy shuttle service. They'll drop you anywhere within a 2 mile radius.)


Curl up in a cozy chair. and watch the world go by.

Recently the hotel hired San Francisco-based cocktail guru, David Nepove to revamp their entire bar. David tore apart the bar, added house made mixers ("everything is made from scratch") and an entirely new cocktail menu. A year ago, I had a lackluster experience here and hesitated going back. A blogger dinner invite provided a welcome look at their new and improved cocktail program.

Talking with the restaurant manager, Michele Gardner, I wanted to know, "What did you learn?"

The new bar menu embraces craft cocktails. "It took a lot of effort to get the staff on board. We had to assure them. people will wait for a well made cocktail." Aiming for unique and refreshing cocktails, the service experience is different too. "When guests sit at the bar, it's an event." In the end, they landed on twelve new cocktails. I had three, and begged shamelessly recipes. The recipe for my favorite cocktail, the Broken Branch, is at the bottom.


The hotel's 6/7 Restaurant is a mix of rustic and modern finishes, featuring a stone fireplace, wrap around waterfront windows, and Murano glass chandeliers.


Not to be outdone by the cocktails, chef John Roberts commanded the evening. Elegant dishes and surprising presentations proved hotel dining can be a noteworthy experience. While mainstream media focus their attention on chef-driven restaurants, chef Roberts is equally worthy of the limelight.


Tiger prawn corn dogs

Arriving on carved wood planks, tender prawns sported a crispy exterior, served alongside a sweet chili dipping sauce. "Chef, tell me about these prawns. What's in the batter?" At first blush, the large pieces adhering to the prawns looked like corn. No. He uses a puffed rice from the Asian market (instead of panko or breadcrumbs). Not only is it visually appealing, the puffed rice provides texture and a shattering bite. And here's the chef tip, "It stays crunchier, longer." For a guy who does a significant number of catered events, that's key.

As the menu progressed, subtle nuances continued to push the flavor. It's all about the details. My camera proved useless once the sun set, so I'll recap:

Salmon Crudo
sweet chili pepper puree, washington apple salsa, avocado and yellow curry oil

Sweet Potato and Leek Soup
topped with sauteed kale, proscuitto, pine nuts, chanterelles, and charred onion creme fraiche

Golden Beet Salad
belgium endive, candied pecans,craisins, oranges, blue cheese, fuji apples, and sherry reduction


Apple Granita and Basil Hayden

Pan Roasted Halibut
saffron risotto, grilled green onion, cherry tomatoes, arugula, musseles, and saffron broth

Roasted Rack of Lamb
rosemary roasted vegetables, gnocchi, carrot crisps, and stone ground mustard lamb reduction

Pear and Frangipane Tart
with vanilla sour cream and brandy caramel

And finally, that amazing cocktail.

Kissed with a touch of sweetness, the flavor profile on this cocktail is like a Manhattan. with a touch of cherry liqueur. Perfect for the holidays, or post-skiing libations.

Broken Branch Cocktail
From Six/Seven at the Edgewater Hotel, Seattle

2 oz Knob Creek Bourbon
½ oz Sweet Vermouth
½ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
½ oz Benedictine
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Method: Stir Garnish: Orange Peel

On the Road with Rick Bayless and Negra Modelo

The past couple years, I've been obsessed with Mexican food. Chef Rick Bayless provided the essential foundation for my education--thanks to his PBS television series, Mexico--One Plate at a Time, now in it's ninth year. His show reflects a life long love of learning. and teaching, unveiling the mysteries of Mexican cuisine, while providing essential on the road cultural context.

Rick's list of accomplishments is staggering (two full pages in my press packet!) In Chicago, he's got a got a stable full restaurants (Frontera Grill, Toplobampo, Xoco, Tortas Frontera, and Frontera Fresco). Frontera, his first, was launched in 1987. Between restaurant launches, he penned eight cookbooks, developed a line of Frontera salsas, sauces, and chips sold throughout the United States, and won awards and accolades too numerous to count.

When the invite arrived for a V.I.P. event with Negra Modelo beer and Rick Bayless, of course I went!

Both Rick and Seattle chef Tom Douglas are on the Macy's Culinary Council. (Remember this event with Tom?) It was a natural fit teaming up with Tom at his event space, the Palace Ballroom.

Hat tip to Negra Modelo, Rick Bayless, Tom Douglas, and their amazing PR teams. Good times, people. Good times!


Tom Douglas' Black Bean and Ham Hock Soup with Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa

2 cups dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
12 cups (3 quarts) chicken stock| or more if needed
1 smoked ham hock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped onions
½ cups coarsely chopped carrots
½ cup coarsely chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups drained canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons coriander seeds| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons cumin seed| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons paprika
¾ tablespoons cayenne| or to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice| or to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the beans in a large pot with the chicken stock and ham hock. Bring
to a simmer and cook until the beans are soft, about 2 hours (1 hour is the
beans have been pre-soaked).
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-low heat and
slowly cook the onions, carrots, and celery, stirring occasionally, until the
onions are golden and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic for
the last few minutes of cooking. Add the onion mixture, tomatoes, tomato
paste, and ground spices to the simmering beans. Continue to simmer
until everything is very soft, about another hour. Pull out the ham hock and
remove the fat and skin. Pull all the lean meat off the bone, finely chop the
mean, and set aside. In a food processor or blender, coarsely puree the
beans in batches just enough to leave a little texture. Return the soup to
the pot and add the chopped meat. Season with the paprika, cayenne, lime
juice, salt, and black pepper. Just before serving, stir in the chopped
cilantro.
On the plate: Ladle the soup into the bowls and serve with dollops of the
salsa, sour cream and a few cilantro leaves. We also serve warm
cornbread with this soup.
A step ahead: You can make this soup a few days ahead and store it in
the refrigerator. To serve, reheat and stir in the cilantro.

Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa
½ pound tomatillos (about 8)| husked and cut into quarters
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 ripe medium avocado| peeled, pitted, and cut into ¼ inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

A step ahead: You can make this an hour or two ahead and store it, covered, in the refrigerator. Or you can make the salsa without the avocado up to a day ahead, refrigerate it, and stir in the diced avocado shortly before you are ready to serve.

Put the tomatillos in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely pureed. Pour the puree into a strainer set over a bowl and drain briefly, discarding the liquid. (The puree doesn't need to be completely dry.) Put the drained puree into a bowl and stir in the lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and avocado. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*
Rick Bayless' Smoky Pulled Pork Tacos with Roasted Tomatoes and Dark Beer

2 cups Essential Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chipotle Sauce:
2 stemmed dried chipotle chiles| (or canned chipotle chiles en adobo)
4 garlic cloves| unpeeled
1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes| (3 medium-large round or 8 to 12 plum)
3 tablespoons olive oil| or vegetable oil or rich-tasting pork lard
1 medium white onion| thinly sliced
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup dark beer| such as Negra Modelo
½ teaspoon black pepper| preferably freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon| preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
1/8 teaspoon cloves| preferably freshly ground
½ teaspoon Salt| plus some for sprinkling on the pork
12 ounces pulled pork
Sprigs of cilantro or flat-leaf parsley| for garnish
12 warm corn tortillas| store-bought or homemade
½ cup grated Mexican queso anejo| or Romano or Parmesan


Rick Bayless Brings Together Local Produce and Mexican Flavors at Macy’s Culinary Council Demo - Recipes

Earlier this year, I attended an event with celebrity chefs Tom Douglas and Rick Bayless. Keeping a sharp eye on the audience, I've learned. sometimes who's in the room. is as compelling as the talent on stage. Towards the end of the event, I spot two guys in chef jackets, bearing the Mariner's baseball team logo. "What's up with those jackets?" A broad smile is quick to follow.

As luck would have it, I met Dave Decker, the Executive Chef of Safeco Field, home of the Mariner's baseball team. He jokes, "Most chefs do 100-200 covers a night, I do 45,000!"

Truth be told, when you think of the trajectory of a chef, I never thought about sports. I was quick to learn, stadium food is big business. Beyond hot dogs and garlic fries, the stadium houses multiple restaurants, the "golden ticket" Diamond Club (more on that later), and when the team is away, a slew of private events. Dinner for 1,200 on the field? He makes it happen.

Before being recruited for the Mariners, Dave was an executive chef for 5-Diamond Hotels. Overseeing large-scale operations with multiple moving parts? That's his specialty.

When I asked, why baseball? Why not football or basketball? It's evident he has a love for challenges, and managing moving parts. Major league baseball teams play 162 games a year. From April through the end of September, they host over 80 home games. At that pace, it puts a lot of pressure on the kitchens. He's a high energy guy who thrives on the pressure.

For baseball, the kitchen crew typically has 1-2 days to prep for games. Football. there's only sixteen games/season. With just eight home games, "In football, you have a whole week to prep!" Baseball's a more challenging season, and for him, that's the appeal.

Overseeing a seasonal staff of 150 is not easy. Open hiring calls, Farestart, and the Millionaire Club provide the bulk of his staff. Every kitchen interview begins with a single test, "Show me how you cut an onion." If they don't use "the claw" to protect their fingertips, he moves on to the next candidate, or finds them a place in concessions.

What's a typical day like? "On game days, I don't really cook. I govern. and do a lot of paperwork." Overseeing all the food in the stadium--from concessions to suites means that for a sell out game? He feeds over 45,000 people. It's a physical job, that requires a ton of walking. On average, he wears through a pair of shoes every four months.

As luck would have it, the team was in town and Dave offered a behind the scenes look.

Stadium food and vegan options? You bet! Vegan dining at Safeco Field includes steamed buns stuffed with either black vinegar-glazed portobello mushrooms or gochujang (Korean chili paste) glazed eggplant.

On our way out, I spot this sign. "Can we take a look?"

At the Water's Edge

Seattle's stunning natural backdrop makes it a lure for locals and tourists alike. If you fancy a jaw-dropping view with a roaring fire, and hand-crafted cocktails, look no further than the Edgewater Hotel. Perched over the water with a steady stream of ships and sailboats gliding by, it's easy to loose yourself here.


There are 12,000 guest rooms in Seattle. Only 120 have a view like this.

While the Edgewater Hotel had been on my radar for weddings (they host over 120/year) and that famed image of the Beatles fishing out of their hotel window, it's recently become my spot for lingering over cocktails and business meetings. The hotel is located in Seattle, a heartbeat from all the downtown action, but enough outside of the fray to provide ample parking, and unobstructed views. (If you're staying here, take advantage of the courtesy shuttle service. They'll drop you anywhere within a 2 mile radius.)


Curl up in a cozy chair. and watch the world go by.

Recently the hotel hired San Francisco-based cocktail guru, David Nepove to revamp their entire bar. David tore apart the bar, added house made mixers ("everything is made from scratch") and an entirely new cocktail menu. A year ago, I had a lackluster experience here and hesitated going back. A blogger dinner invite provided a welcome look at their new and improved cocktail program.

Talking with the restaurant manager, Michele Gardner, I wanted to know, "What did you learn?"

The new bar menu embraces craft cocktails. "It took a lot of effort to get the staff on board. We had to assure them. people will wait for a well made cocktail." Aiming for unique and refreshing cocktails, the service experience is different too. "When guests sit at the bar, it's an event." In the end, they landed on twelve new cocktails. I had three, and begged shamelessly recipes. The recipe for my favorite cocktail, the Broken Branch, is at the bottom.


The hotel's 6/7 Restaurant is a mix of rustic and modern finishes, featuring a stone fireplace, wrap around waterfront windows, and Murano glass chandeliers.


Not to be outdone by the cocktails, chef John Roberts commanded the evening. Elegant dishes and surprising presentations proved hotel dining can be a noteworthy experience. While mainstream media focus their attention on chef-driven restaurants, chef Roberts is equally worthy of the limelight.


Tiger prawn corn dogs

Arriving on carved wood planks, tender prawns sported a crispy exterior, served alongside a sweet chili dipping sauce. "Chef, tell me about these prawns. What's in the batter?" At first blush, the large pieces adhering to the prawns looked like corn. No. He uses a puffed rice from the Asian market (instead of panko or breadcrumbs). Not only is it visually appealing, the puffed rice provides texture and a shattering bite. And here's the chef tip, "It stays crunchier, longer." For a guy who does a significant number of catered events, that's key.

As the menu progressed, subtle nuances continued to push the flavor. It's all about the details. My camera proved useless once the sun set, so I'll recap:

Salmon Crudo
sweet chili pepper puree, washington apple salsa, avocado and yellow curry oil

Sweet Potato and Leek Soup
topped with sauteed kale, proscuitto, pine nuts, chanterelles, and charred onion creme fraiche

Golden Beet Salad
belgium endive, candied pecans,craisins, oranges, blue cheese, fuji apples, and sherry reduction


Apple Granita and Basil Hayden

Pan Roasted Halibut
saffron risotto, grilled green onion, cherry tomatoes, arugula, musseles, and saffron broth

Roasted Rack of Lamb
rosemary roasted vegetables, gnocchi, carrot crisps, and stone ground mustard lamb reduction

Pear and Frangipane Tart
with vanilla sour cream and brandy caramel

And finally, that amazing cocktail.

Kissed with a touch of sweetness, the flavor profile on this cocktail is like a Manhattan. with a touch of cherry liqueur. Perfect for the holidays, or post-skiing libations.

Broken Branch Cocktail
From Six/Seven at the Edgewater Hotel, Seattle

2 oz Knob Creek Bourbon
½ oz Sweet Vermouth
½ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
½ oz Benedictine
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Method: Stir Garnish: Orange Peel

On the Road with Rick Bayless and Negra Modelo

The past couple years, I've been obsessed with Mexican food. Chef Rick Bayless provided the essential foundation for my education--thanks to his PBS television series, Mexico--One Plate at a Time, now in it's ninth year. His show reflects a life long love of learning. and teaching, unveiling the mysteries of Mexican cuisine, while providing essential on the road cultural context.

Rick's list of accomplishments is staggering (two full pages in my press packet!) In Chicago, he's got a got a stable full restaurants (Frontera Grill, Toplobampo, Xoco, Tortas Frontera, and Frontera Fresco). Frontera, his first, was launched in 1987. Between restaurant launches, he penned eight cookbooks, developed a line of Frontera salsas, sauces, and chips sold throughout the United States, and won awards and accolades too numerous to count.

When the invite arrived for a V.I.P. event with Negra Modelo beer and Rick Bayless, of course I went!

Both Rick and Seattle chef Tom Douglas are on the Macy's Culinary Council. (Remember this event with Tom?) It was a natural fit teaming up with Tom at his event space, the Palace Ballroom.

Hat tip to Negra Modelo, Rick Bayless, Tom Douglas, and their amazing PR teams. Good times, people. Good times!


Tom Douglas' Black Bean and Ham Hock Soup with Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa

2 cups dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
12 cups (3 quarts) chicken stock| or more if needed
1 smoked ham hock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped onions
½ cups coarsely chopped carrots
½ cup coarsely chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups drained canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons coriander seeds| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons cumin seed| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons paprika
¾ tablespoons cayenne| or to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice| or to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the beans in a large pot with the chicken stock and ham hock. Bring
to a simmer and cook until the beans are soft, about 2 hours (1 hour is the
beans have been pre-soaked).
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-low heat and
slowly cook the onions, carrots, and celery, stirring occasionally, until the
onions are golden and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic for
the last few minutes of cooking. Add the onion mixture, tomatoes, tomato
paste, and ground spices to the simmering beans. Continue to simmer
until everything is very soft, about another hour. Pull out the ham hock and
remove the fat and skin. Pull all the lean meat off the bone, finely chop the
mean, and set aside. In a food processor or blender, coarsely puree the
beans in batches just enough to leave a little texture. Return the soup to
the pot and add the chopped meat. Season with the paprika, cayenne, lime
juice, salt, and black pepper. Just before serving, stir in the chopped
cilantro.
On the plate: Ladle the soup into the bowls and serve with dollops of the
salsa, sour cream and a few cilantro leaves. We also serve warm
cornbread with this soup.
A step ahead: You can make this soup a few days ahead and store it in
the refrigerator. To serve, reheat and stir in the cilantro.

Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa
½ pound tomatillos (about 8)| husked and cut into quarters
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 ripe medium avocado| peeled, pitted, and cut into ¼ inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

A step ahead: You can make this an hour or two ahead and store it, covered, in the refrigerator. Or you can make the salsa without the avocado up to a day ahead, refrigerate it, and stir in the diced avocado shortly before you are ready to serve.

Put the tomatillos in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely pureed. Pour the puree into a strainer set over a bowl and drain briefly, discarding the liquid. (The puree doesn't need to be completely dry.) Put the drained puree into a bowl and stir in the lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and avocado. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*
Rick Bayless' Smoky Pulled Pork Tacos with Roasted Tomatoes and Dark Beer

2 cups Essential Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chipotle Sauce:
2 stemmed dried chipotle chiles| (or canned chipotle chiles en adobo)
4 garlic cloves| unpeeled
1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes| (3 medium-large round or 8 to 12 plum)
3 tablespoons olive oil| or vegetable oil or rich-tasting pork lard
1 medium white onion| thinly sliced
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup dark beer| such as Negra Modelo
½ teaspoon black pepper| preferably freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon| preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
1/8 teaspoon cloves| preferably freshly ground
½ teaspoon Salt| plus some for sprinkling on the pork
12 ounces pulled pork
Sprigs of cilantro or flat-leaf parsley| for garnish
12 warm corn tortillas| store-bought or homemade
½ cup grated Mexican queso anejo| or Romano or Parmesan


Rick Bayless Brings Together Local Produce and Mexican Flavors at Macy’s Culinary Council Demo - Recipes

Earlier this year, I attended an event with celebrity chefs Tom Douglas and Rick Bayless. Keeping a sharp eye on the audience, I've learned. sometimes who's in the room. is as compelling as the talent on stage. Towards the end of the event, I spot two guys in chef jackets, bearing the Mariner's baseball team logo. "What's up with those jackets?" A broad smile is quick to follow.

As luck would have it, I met Dave Decker, the Executive Chef of Safeco Field, home of the Mariner's baseball team. He jokes, "Most chefs do 100-200 covers a night, I do 45,000!"

Truth be told, when you think of the trajectory of a chef, I never thought about sports. I was quick to learn, stadium food is big business. Beyond hot dogs and garlic fries, the stadium houses multiple restaurants, the "golden ticket" Diamond Club (more on that later), and when the team is away, a slew of private events. Dinner for 1,200 on the field? He makes it happen.

Before being recruited for the Mariners, Dave was an executive chef for 5-Diamond Hotels. Overseeing large-scale operations with multiple moving parts? That's his specialty.

When I asked, why baseball? Why not football or basketball? It's evident he has a love for challenges, and managing moving parts. Major league baseball teams play 162 games a year. From April through the end of September, they host over 80 home games. At that pace, it puts a lot of pressure on the kitchens. He's a high energy guy who thrives on the pressure.

For baseball, the kitchen crew typically has 1-2 days to prep for games. Football. there's only sixteen games/season. With just eight home games, "In football, you have a whole week to prep!" Baseball's a more challenging season, and for him, that's the appeal.

Overseeing a seasonal staff of 150 is not easy. Open hiring calls, Farestart, and the Millionaire Club provide the bulk of his staff. Every kitchen interview begins with a single test, "Show me how you cut an onion." If they don't use "the claw" to protect their fingertips, he moves on to the next candidate, or finds them a place in concessions.

What's a typical day like? "On game days, I don't really cook. I govern. and do a lot of paperwork." Overseeing all the food in the stadium--from concessions to suites means that for a sell out game? He feeds over 45,000 people. It's a physical job, that requires a ton of walking. On average, he wears through a pair of shoes every four months.

As luck would have it, the team was in town and Dave offered a behind the scenes look.

Stadium food and vegan options? You bet! Vegan dining at Safeco Field includes steamed buns stuffed with either black vinegar-glazed portobello mushrooms or gochujang (Korean chili paste) glazed eggplant.

On our way out, I spot this sign. "Can we take a look?"

At the Water's Edge

Seattle's stunning natural backdrop makes it a lure for locals and tourists alike. If you fancy a jaw-dropping view with a roaring fire, and hand-crafted cocktails, look no further than the Edgewater Hotel. Perched over the water with a steady stream of ships and sailboats gliding by, it's easy to loose yourself here.


There are 12,000 guest rooms in Seattle. Only 120 have a view like this.

While the Edgewater Hotel had been on my radar for weddings (they host over 120/year) and that famed image of the Beatles fishing out of their hotel window, it's recently become my spot for lingering over cocktails and business meetings. The hotel is located in Seattle, a heartbeat from all the downtown action, but enough outside of the fray to provide ample parking, and unobstructed views. (If you're staying here, take advantage of the courtesy shuttle service. They'll drop you anywhere within a 2 mile radius.)


Curl up in a cozy chair. and watch the world go by.

Recently the hotel hired San Francisco-based cocktail guru, David Nepove to revamp their entire bar. David tore apart the bar, added house made mixers ("everything is made from scratch") and an entirely new cocktail menu. A year ago, I had a lackluster experience here and hesitated going back. A blogger dinner invite provided a welcome look at their new and improved cocktail program.

Talking with the restaurant manager, Michele Gardner, I wanted to know, "What did you learn?"

The new bar menu embraces craft cocktails. "It took a lot of effort to get the staff on board. We had to assure them. people will wait for a well made cocktail." Aiming for unique and refreshing cocktails, the service experience is different too. "When guests sit at the bar, it's an event." In the end, they landed on twelve new cocktails. I had three, and begged shamelessly recipes. The recipe for my favorite cocktail, the Broken Branch, is at the bottom.


The hotel's 6/7 Restaurant is a mix of rustic and modern finishes, featuring a stone fireplace, wrap around waterfront windows, and Murano glass chandeliers.


Not to be outdone by the cocktails, chef John Roberts commanded the evening. Elegant dishes and surprising presentations proved hotel dining can be a noteworthy experience. While mainstream media focus their attention on chef-driven restaurants, chef Roberts is equally worthy of the limelight.


Tiger prawn corn dogs

Arriving on carved wood planks, tender prawns sported a crispy exterior, served alongside a sweet chili dipping sauce. "Chef, tell me about these prawns. What's in the batter?" At first blush, the large pieces adhering to the prawns looked like corn. No. He uses a puffed rice from the Asian market (instead of panko or breadcrumbs). Not only is it visually appealing, the puffed rice provides texture and a shattering bite. And here's the chef tip, "It stays crunchier, longer." For a guy who does a significant number of catered events, that's key.

As the menu progressed, subtle nuances continued to push the flavor. It's all about the details. My camera proved useless once the sun set, so I'll recap:

Salmon Crudo
sweet chili pepper puree, washington apple salsa, avocado and yellow curry oil

Sweet Potato and Leek Soup
topped with sauteed kale, proscuitto, pine nuts, chanterelles, and charred onion creme fraiche

Golden Beet Salad
belgium endive, candied pecans,craisins, oranges, blue cheese, fuji apples, and sherry reduction


Apple Granita and Basil Hayden

Pan Roasted Halibut
saffron risotto, grilled green onion, cherry tomatoes, arugula, musseles, and saffron broth

Roasted Rack of Lamb
rosemary roasted vegetables, gnocchi, carrot crisps, and stone ground mustard lamb reduction

Pear and Frangipane Tart
with vanilla sour cream and brandy caramel

And finally, that amazing cocktail.

Kissed with a touch of sweetness, the flavor profile on this cocktail is like a Manhattan. with a touch of cherry liqueur. Perfect for the holidays, or post-skiing libations.

Broken Branch Cocktail
From Six/Seven at the Edgewater Hotel, Seattle

2 oz Knob Creek Bourbon
½ oz Sweet Vermouth
½ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
½ oz Benedictine
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Method: Stir Garnish: Orange Peel

On the Road with Rick Bayless and Negra Modelo

The past couple years, I've been obsessed with Mexican food. Chef Rick Bayless provided the essential foundation for my education--thanks to his PBS television series, Mexico--One Plate at a Time, now in it's ninth year. His show reflects a life long love of learning. and teaching, unveiling the mysteries of Mexican cuisine, while providing essential on the road cultural context.

Rick's list of accomplishments is staggering (two full pages in my press packet!) In Chicago, he's got a got a stable full restaurants (Frontera Grill, Toplobampo, Xoco, Tortas Frontera, and Frontera Fresco). Frontera, his first, was launched in 1987. Between restaurant launches, he penned eight cookbooks, developed a line of Frontera salsas, sauces, and chips sold throughout the United States, and won awards and accolades too numerous to count.

When the invite arrived for a V.I.P. event with Negra Modelo beer and Rick Bayless, of course I went!

Both Rick and Seattle chef Tom Douglas are on the Macy's Culinary Council. (Remember this event with Tom?) It was a natural fit teaming up with Tom at his event space, the Palace Ballroom.

Hat tip to Negra Modelo, Rick Bayless, Tom Douglas, and their amazing PR teams. Good times, people. Good times!


Tom Douglas' Black Bean and Ham Hock Soup with Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa

2 cups dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
12 cups (3 quarts) chicken stock| or more if needed
1 smoked ham hock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped onions
½ cups coarsely chopped carrots
½ cup coarsely chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups drained canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons coriander seeds| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons cumin seed| toasted and ground
2 tablespoons paprika
¾ tablespoons cayenne| or to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice| or to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the beans in a large pot with the chicken stock and ham hock. Bring
to a simmer and cook until the beans are soft, about 2 hours (1 hour is the
beans have been pre-soaked).
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-low heat and
slowly cook the onions, carrots, and celery, stirring occasionally, until the
onions are golden and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic for
the last few minutes of cooking. Add the onion mixture, tomatoes, tomato
paste, and ground spices to the simmering beans. Continue to simmer
until everything is very soft, about another hour. Pull out the ham hock and
remove the fat and skin. Pull all the lean meat off the bone, finely chop the
mean, and set aside. In a food processor or blender, coarsely puree the
beans in batches just enough to leave a little texture. Return the soup to
the pot and add the chopped meat. Season with the paprika, cayenne, lime
juice, salt, and black pepper. Just before serving, stir in the chopped
cilantro.
On the plate: Ladle the soup into the bowls and serve with dollops of the
salsa, sour cream and a few cilantro leaves. We also serve warm
cornbread with this soup.
A step ahead: You can make this soup a few days ahead and store it in
the refrigerator. To serve, reheat and stir in the cilantro.

Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa
½ pound tomatillos (about 8)| husked and cut into quarters
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 ripe medium avocado| peeled, pitted, and cut into ¼ inch dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

A step ahead: You can make this an hour or two ahead and store it, covered, in the refrigerator. Or you can make the salsa without the avocado up to a day ahead, refrigerate it, and stir in the diced avocado shortly before you are ready to serve.

Put the tomatillos in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely pureed. Pour the puree into a strainer set over a bowl and drain briefly, discarding the liquid. (The puree doesn't need to be completely dry.) Put the drained puree into a bowl and stir in the lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and avocado. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*
Rick Bayless' Smoky Pulled Pork Tacos with Roasted Tomatoes and Dark Beer

2 cups Essential Quick-Cooked Tomato-Chipotle Sauce:
2 stemmed dried chipotle chiles| (or canned chipotle chiles en adobo)
4 garlic cloves| unpeeled
1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes| (3 medium-large round or 8 to 12 plum)
3 tablespoons olive oil| or vegetable oil or rich-tasting pork lard
1 medium white onion| thinly sliced
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup dark beer| such as Negra Modelo
½ teaspoon black pepper| preferably freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon| preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
1/8 teaspoon cloves| preferably freshly ground
½ teaspoon Salt| plus some for sprinkling on the pork
12 ounces pulled pork
Sprigs of cilantro or flat-leaf parsley| for garnish
12 warm corn tortillas| store-bought or homemade
½ cup grated Mexican queso anejo| or Romano or Parmesan


Watch the video: Kristin McGee Macys Cooking Demo (December 2021).